ABP Food Group is being sued for defamation by an Irish meat trader, who alleges the company wrongly implicated it in the horsemeat scandal.
Martin McAdam of McAdam Food Products was named by ABP as a potential source of adulterated beef at the beginning of February, when ABP said its Silvercrest plant had purchased 170 tonnes of beef product from McAdam imported from Poland. “It now appears that, while Silvercrest purchased these beef products in good faith, horse DNA originating in Poland was present in some of these products,” ABP said at the time.
McAdam has always challenged ABP’s version of events – including claiming the volume supplied to Silvercrest was 60 and not 170 tonnes – and said today it had filed a lawsuit for defamation against ABP in the Irish High Court.
“Mr McAdam will allege in the High Court that ABP deliberately made ‘false and malicious allegations’ about him and his meat trading business”
“Mr McAdam will allege in the High Court that ABP deliberately made ‘false and malicious allegations’ about him and his meat trading business,” McAdam said in a statement. “It will be alleged that this was in order to deflect media attention from ABP who were at the centre of the horsemeat scandal at that particular time.”
ABP’s statements had caused “immense damage” to its reputation and business, McAdam said, adding it was not the source of the beef that had tested positive for horse DNA at Silvercrest.
McAdam had ordered and paid for his products at “beef market prices” and imported them “on the basis of their being understood and documented to be beef and nothing else,” he added. “Mr McAdam provided all foreign supplier details and extensive documentation to the authorities including emails, invoices, commercial documents and veterinary letters stating that all products purchased by him were beef only.”
McAdam said: “As a meat trader, he never had any physical possession of beef meat consignments ordered by him which came direct from suppliers abroad to his customers in Ireland. Transportation was made by a reputable Danish transport company in sealed door to door containers.”
Subsequent investigations into the horsemeat scandal by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture had also “exonerated” McAdam from knowingly importing horsemeat.
ABP confirmed it had been notified of McAdam’s defamation suit, and said it intended to fight it vigorously. “ABP does not believe that there is any basis for the claim or that it has damaged Mr McAdam’s reputation or the reputation of McAdam Food Products. ABP has every intention of fighting this spurious claim and is continuing to investigate its legal options against McAdam Food Products and other parties.”