Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Food, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has called on the Minister for Agriculture to ascertain exactly how traces of horse DNA was found in burgers from two meat processing plants.

Deputy Ó Cuív has also called on the Minister to reassure consumers this is not a widespread practice in the industry.

A survey by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has revealed that traces of horse meat was found in some beef products sold in Irish supermarkets.

“There needs to be a requirement that all meat sold in this country and sourced abroad is 100% traceable,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.  “We need to know exactly what happened and measures must be put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“I was surprised to hear the Minister say it was only the ‘cheaper meat’ that was affected. This is totally beside the point, the same high standards should be adhered to in terms of the quality, ingredients and makeup of meat no matter what the price is. People’s rights to food safety should not depend on how much  they are able to spend on food. This was a flippant response from the Minister and he should focus his energy on this lapse in quality control and where exactly this meat came from.

“This is a potentially serious revelation and could have a damaging effect on the Irish agriculture sector if not dealt with quickly and comprehensively.

“All meat from the processers in question should be withdrawn. The Minister needs also make clear what he is doing to ensure the problem is limited to these two processing centres.”