LONDON (AP) — British and Irish burger fans could face a Whopper shortage. Burger King has stopped buying beef from an Irish meat processor whose patties were found to contain traces of horsemeat.
The fast food chain said Thursday it had dropped Silvercrest Foods as a supplier for its U.K. and Ireland restaurants as a “voluntary and precautionary measure.”
Last week Silvercrest, which is owned by ABP Food Group, shut down its production line and recalled 10 million burgers from supermarket shelves in Britain and Ireland after horse DNA was found in some beef products.
Burger King said the decision to drop the supplier “may mean that some of our products are temporarily unavailable.” It stressed that “this is not a food safety issue.”
The company added that there was “no evidence to suggest any of the Silvercrest product supplied to Burger King was affected” by the horsemeat contamination.
Rival McDonald’s said it does not buy beef from Silvercrest or other affected suppliers.
The presence of horsemeat in beef is a sensitive issue in Britain and Ireland, which do not have a tradition of eating horses. The British tabloid The Sun reported the Burger King story under the headline “Shergar King,” a reference to a famous racehorse.
Products from another Irish firm and one in Britain also were contaminated by horsemeat. Most had only small traces, but one burger of a brand sold by the British supermarket chain Tesco contained 29 percent horsemeat.