Horsemeat scandal: Whitbread and M&B withdraw food supplied by Paragon

By Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality giants Whitbread and Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) have withdrawn products supplied by Paragon foods after they tested positive for horse DNA.

Whitbread has withdrawn two products from its menus and launched an investigation into its meat supply chain following the test results. It is extending its independent batch testing of processed meats, demanding certification from suppliers for all processed meat products and is planning a new system of traceability to include the clear tracking of ingredients.

A spokesperson said: “We have written to our suppliers who have provided contaminated product. The letter tells them they are in breach of contract and that we will require them to compensate us for our losses from the breach when the loss has been fully calculated. We will take them to court if they refuse to pay unless some new facts come out that show they are not in breach.”

Whitbread intends to assist the Food Standards Agency in improving standards in the UK supply chain, but says customers have reacted well and trading remains strong.

M&B’s Harvester brand is also suppled by Paragon and it was revealed that its 6oz burger was contaminated with horsemeat. The group’s own tests on the product were negative but it withdrew the burger from sale following Paragon’s results.

A spokesperson said: “We will test samples from all new batches of burgers and this will take a few days to complete. In the meantime, we are offering our guests an alternative 8oz gourmet burger - at no extra cost to them - which has been tested and is clear.

“We have also initiated a programme of independent testing of all relevant products to satisfy ourselves that the products we offer are not contaminated.”

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