Burger King Horsemeat Scandal: Chain Admits That Food May Have Been Tainted

01/31/2013 04:54 pm ET | Updated Feb 01, 2013

Burger King has admitted that it is possible some of its burgers sold in the U.K. and Ireland were, in fact, tainted with horsemeat.

This is just the latest chapter in an ongoing scandal in the U.K. and Ireland involving beef burger patties tainted with meat from horses and pigs. U.K. supermarket chain Tesco and other companies have also been affected. It's suspected that a meat distributor in Poland, which worked with all the companies in question, used meats other than beef as filler in cheap burgers.

Burger King had originally stressed that its patties are made with 100 percent beef, although it later dropped Silvercrest, the food processing plant that received meat from the Polish distributor.

The Guardian has a statement from Burger King:

"Our independent DNA test results on product taken from restaurants were negative for any equine DNA. However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. Within the last 36 hours, we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. They promised to deliver 100% British and Irish beef patties and have not done so. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them."

That means that there's no actual evidence proving that Burger King ever served horsemeat, but also that the company admits that some of its locations may have inadvertently done so. Officials have stressed that the horsemeat-tainted burgers do not pose a health risk to consumers.

Clarification: We have clarified the language throughout to indicate that it is possible, but not certain, that Burger King's burgers contained horsemeat.

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