Burger King has tonight admitted that it has been selling burgers and Whoppers containing horsemeat despite two weeks of denials.
The fast food chain, which has more than 500 UK outlets, had earlier given a series of ‘absolute assurances’ that its products were not involved.
However, new tests have revealed these guarantees were incorrect in a revelation that threatens to destroy the trust of customers.
It also raises serious questions about whether the food company, which sells around one million burgers a week in the UK, has any good idea about what goes into its products.
The contaminated burgers were made by the Irish-based processing company, Silvercrest, which is part the ABP Foods Group.
The same company also made tainted burgers for Tesco, Asda and the Co-op, among others.
Burger King has faced allegations of orchestrating a cover-up of its links to the horsemeat scandal in order to give it time to find an alternative supplier.
It is currently shipping in tens of thousands of burgers from suppliers in Germany and Italy in order to meet demand at its UK outlets.
It is known that the management at Silvercrest has been using a series of non-approved ingredients in their burgers for a range of household name brands.
These included meat off-cuts, including horse, that were imported in large frozen blocks from Poland.
The contamination has been going on since at least last May and potentially for up to one year, according to evidence presented to MPs earlier this week.
Tonight Burger King abandoned its earlier denials, saying: ‘Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA.