DNA testing of meat will become a routine part of food testing nationwide Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has announced, in a move that mirrors what Ardee based beef company ABP announced last month.
ABP say that; “ABP has already started to implement a new DNA testing regime over and above any legal requirements. This DNA testing (including equine) will be in addition to our current comprehensive testing regime which the company carries out for food safety requirements.”
The Department of Agriculture and Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) agreed that a national protocol for DNA testing of meat would be applied at retail, catering and processing level. “We intend to introduce DNA testing from now on as part of routine food testing across the country,” Mr Coveney said.
Paul Finnerty, Group Chief Executive, ABP Food Group said:
“This has been a very difficult experience for all involved and has led to a significant interruption in business for Silvercrest and its customers. We are relieved that the source of the problem has been identified.”
“While the company has never knowingly purchased or traded in equine product, I wish to take this opportunity to apologise for the impact this issue has caused.”
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister said European officials had agreed to test for phenylbutazone - or “bute”, a veterinary drug given to horses. Mr Coveney and his European counterparts also agreed at a meeting on Wednesday for a pan-European approach to the ongoing horse meat scandal - which will include sharing information on testing to trace back to different sources of contamination.
It now appears that far from being the source of horsemeat, that Irish processors in fact lead the way in highlighting mislabelling of meats and fraud within the meat processing sector.
Minister Coveney said Ireland has led the way on this issue and will continue to do so. He said: “I would like to think that it was because of Ireland’s vigilance and testing systems that this issue was exposed.
“Ireland will continue to show the way in terms of responding comprehensively to what is fraud, but is also a huge consumer issue.”