Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill, has said the horsemeat burgers controversy represents a major challenge for the Irish food sector and the response by the Department of Agriculture must be swift and decisive.
Senator Ó Domhnaill stated that the controversy appears to look like misrepresentation and incompliance by the multi-national supermarkets and food processors.
“Burgers are generally made up of what is described in the industry as the fifth quarter cuts of meat. The question must now be asked as to whether the suppliers of the horsemeat material were approved by the multiple supermarkets involved. I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to immediately discuss these issues with each of the multiple retailers involved. Consumers expect to receive what is on the label and to find horsemeat in beef burgers is not acceptable.
“The Minister for Agriculture must also ascertain how long this practice was going on for. A full and comprehensive analysis of retained samples in the processing plants and supermarkets should also be undertaken immediately.
“The Minister for Agriculture in conjunction with the EU Commission must also undertake a full review of all the suppliers that export meat ingredients into the state. This is required to protect the reputation of the Irish meat industry which is worth some €3billion in exports each year.”