11th February, 2013
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president Gabriel Gilmartin today said that the European Commission may be required to propose regulations to deal with the evolving horsemeat scandal.
“It is now apparent that despite all the EU regulations covering on-farm traceability, the major problems further down the food chain have been missed out on. Given what has emerged in recent days, it is clear that this is no longer a matter for individual member states but something that has to be dealt with on a pan-European basis.”
“A key element of any regulation would be compulsory DNA testing carried out by the competent authorities in each state, on an unannounced inspection basis. There needs to be a complete review of the role of meat traders and it seems that there is an urgent need to look at what licensing conditions should be imposed on them.”
Mr Gilmartin reiterated that this does not take away from the fact that companies like Silvercrest and the ABP group still have to explain why there is any need to import meat into a country like Ireland which has so much surplus beef to export.
He added, “While we can blame criminal conspiracies and rogue traders all we like, the fact is that companies like Findus need to get their act together in terms of realising that there is a limit to how cheap food can be, and that there is an onus on them to be more vigilant about the ingredients they use. The same criticism applies to retailing giants who apparently believed that a burger could be sold for less than 20c using only Irish and British beef, despite the massive increases in recent years in the costs of feeding cattle.”