Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food, Éamon Ó Cuív TD has called on Minister Simon Coveney and the Government to send out a clear message to our international trading partners that Ireland’s high food standards remain intact despite a potential BSE confirmation, and that there is no risk to human health.

Deputy Ó Cuív raised the matter during Topical Issues in the Dáil this afternoon.

“Ireland has very robust food safety protocols in place and only healthy animals are permitted into the food chain. The food safety measures we employ are based on a precautionary approach to risk and are among the most rigorous in the world.  Combined with the stringent risk reduction measures in place, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland bases its decisions upon the best scientific data and knowledge, and develops inspection and audit controls to ensure maximum consumer protection in relation to meat and meat products”, stated Deputy Ó Cuív.

“There is absolutely no risk to human health if the suspected BSE case in Louth is confirmed. Veterinary inspectors check all animals immediately before slaughter to ensure they are showing no signs of disease. No risk material enters the food chain as all high-risk Specified Risk Material (SRM) are removed before slaughtering.

“Even if Ireland were to revert to a “controlled risk status” from the World Organisation for Animal Health, it must be remembered that this enabled Ireland to secure additional international markets for beef exports.

“It is vital that the Minister and Government collectively send a clear message home and abroad that consumers of Irish beef have no need to worry”.