Local butchers in Dundalk have seen an increase in business in the weeks following the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s discovery of horse meat in beef products.On January 16, the FSA announced that beefburgers with traces of equine DNA were being supplied to supermarkets..
Ten million burgers are taken off the shelves, by retailers including Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Dunnes Stores.
The situation went further downhill at the start of February when the FSA revealed a second case of “gross contamination” after some Findus UK beef lasagnes were found to contain up to 100 per cent horse meat.
While supermarkets have seen frozen burger sales plunge by 43 per cent and frozen ready meals have fall by 13 per cent local butchers have seen a dramatic increase in sales with customers showing an increased interested in the traceability of meat.
Tomás Rogers, a long serving butcher with Whites in the Longwalk Shopping Centre says business has definitely increased since the scandal broke.
“We have definitely benefited from all this. Customers are are asking about the origin of the beef they’re buying and they are even buying extra.”
McArdle Meats butcher Martin Hanratty has also seen an increase in sales of beef.
“We have had a bit of an increase and have noticed people are buying that bit more beef.”
Mervin McCaffrey of Coleman’s Butchers on Clanbrassil Street said that he has noticed an increase in the amount of burgers and mince being sold.
“People are buying more mince and making their own burgers nowadays,” said Mervin, who has heard just about every horse meat joke there is at this stage!
“There is a positive side to this scandal for local butchers like myself who are now benefiting because the traceability of our products makes us reliable.”
There appears to be a greater respect for locally produced meat with customers boycotting local supermarkets and going to their local butchers instead for their fix of beef.
Although some customers have always gone to their local butchers and so haven’t had to change their eating habits.
Sonya McEreavey from Doolargy told the Democrat that she has always bought her beef fresh from the local butchers.
“I would only ever get my beef and meat in the butchers, never in the supermarket and I definitely would not change that now.”
Caroline Clarke, also from Doolargy, has given up beef altogether since the horse meat scandal broke.
“I won’t eat beef anymore. I used to but now I won’t eat it at all, no burgers, no mince, nothing.”
Many other customers said it hadn’t affected how much beef they ate, but they were more conscious of where their meat came from.
“I still eat the same amount beef as I always have,” Marie Babington told the Democrat, “I buy all my meat from the butchers and always have as I like to know where it comes from.”
Dundalk woman, Kelly Mostyn from College Heights says that she isn’t a big beef eater anyway.
“I’m a chicken woman myself but I do buy mince and will only buy it in a butchers now.
“I definitely wouldn’t dream of buying or even eating a burger. People are afraid now.”
Bill Thompson, from Beech Park, says it hasn’t affected his own eating habits.
“It hasn’t changed my eating habits but I feel sorry for the families it has affected.”
George Rogers, from Blackrock, agreed with him. “It hasn’t really affected me at all and I haven’t changed anything since.
“I just eat whatever the wife puts down in front of me.”