Tucking in: But Burger some King favourites are off the menu
Tucking in: But some Burger King favourites are off the menu

Burger King is throwing away piles of meat patties in a panic over horsemeat.

Boxes of the meat destined to be sold to diners as Whoppers and Angus Burgers are instead being marked with 'X', meaning possible contamination.

Taking patties away from beefburger joint grills in Britain and Ireland has hit menus, with some outlets not selling customers' favourite burgers until a new supplier delivers fresh meat.

The fast food giant issued a memo to its 485 restaurants across Britain ordering that products from Silvercrest are not taken out of delivery boxes. The meat manufacturer is under investigation by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland after some of its burgers were found to be contaminated with horsemeat.

But Burger King outlets were told to keep using patties that had been delivered before the email was sent on 20 January.

The Sun obtained a copy of the email sent by Burger King vice-president of brand standards and excellence, Tracy Gehlan.

"If our guests enquire regarding our beef products, the team member should immediately inform the restaurant manager," she said.

"The restaurant manager should inform the guest that Burger King 'has taken all necessary precautions to ensure that all of our guests are receiving the quality products that Burger King is known for'."

SIlvercrest supplied Burger King with all its beef patties in Britain and Ireland. The restaurant chain cancelled its contract with the meat manufacturer in the wake of the Tesco horsemeat scandal.

Burger production suspended

Silvercrest produces 3.7 million burger patties a day for sale in a huge number of high street shops. Supermarket chains including Sainsbury's, Asda and Tesco removed 10 million of its burgers from their shelves when the horsemeat scare broke.

All production at a Silvercrest meat plant in Co Monaghan was suspended as the scandal became public.

A Burger King spokesman told IBTimes UK that it was not a food safety issue and that a company probe was under way.

"As a precaution, we decided to replace all Silvercrest products in the UK and Ireland with products from another approved company.

"This is a voluntary and precautionary measure. We are working diligently to identify suppliers that can produce 100 percent pure Irish and British beef products that meet our high quality standards.

"Unfortunately, this may mean that some of our products are temporarily unavailable. We apologise to our guests for any inconvenience.

"We take this matter seriously and will continue with our investigations to determine how this situation occurred and what lessons can be learned."