Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW): Is A Whopper Shortage Imminent?

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Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) has announced that it dropped the Irish food supplier, Silvercrest Foods, after traces of horse meat were found in some of its meat products. The fast food chain said it dropped the company’s products as a “voluntary and precautionary measure.” It also warned BK lovers in Ireland and the U.K. that a whopper shortage could be imminent.

Thus far Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW)’s decision to drop Silvercrest as a supplier is the largest setback for Silvercrest in the midst of the scandal over horse meat. Last week Silvercrest shut down its beef production operations and issued a recall for 10 million hamburgers throughout Ireland and the U.K.

In a statement issued today, Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) said the decision to drop Silvercrest could mean that some of its products will become “temporarily unavailable.” The fast food giant also told customers that it was not a food safety problem.

The horse meat scandal involving Silvercrest started last week when food safety officials in Ireland learned that some of the frozen burgers from Silvercrest and Liffey Meats, another Irish meat supplier, were tainted with horse meat. The amount of horse meat in most of the burgers was very little, although one burger in particular that was tested was about 29 percent horse meat.

Silvercrest has claimed that the burgers it supplied to Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) were not affected by the horse meat contamination, but the fast food chain decided to drop the company. Silvercrest owner, Larry Goodman, told the Financial Times that his company has never purchased horse met and believes it came from filler products used in other parts of Europe.

Health authorities in the U.K. say there are very little, if any health concerns associated with eating the horse meat in question.

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