Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has responded to the news that the Burger King franchise is changing its meat supplier in the wake of the horsemeat controversy.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented: “This is very bad news for the company in question and will be a cause of concern for the entire beef processing industry.

“Since this controversy first emerged I and my party have been asking questions consistently about the speed of engagement and response from the Minister for Agriculture and his Department.

“In the absence of a clear explanation from the Minister about why it took three weeks for him to be informed in the first instance, and in the absence of any clear timetable for when we are going to get answers on the increasingly muddled issue of the provenance of the horsemeat DNA, a vacuum is developing.

“Into that vacuum, we see all sorts of uncertainty and speculation emerge about what is the scale and the nature of the problem. The Minister and the Department need to get their act together and bring a much greater sense of urgency to this emerging crisis.

“I am calling on the Minister not to wait any longer and to come before an immediate sitting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee to spell out what he knows, what he doesn’t know and how long it is going to take him to get the answers that he’s missing.

“The industry, its customers and Irish consumers need answers and they need them faster than they have been getting them so far. The future of our successful and highly lucrative beef industry is being jeopardised by a lack of information.  We need to be able to satisfy consumers everywhere that Ireland continues to have the highest food standards and best beef and meat products in the world.”