As the horsemeat scandal continues to sweep through Europe, the effect of the ongoing controversy is certainly being felt on the ground in Ireland, where the Food Safety Authority first uncovered the issue.
It has been estimated that business in urban butchers has increased by 25% while rural butchers have seen their business increased by about 15%.
Butchers in Co Longford are reporting an increase in business and a heightened sense of awareness among consumers about food traceability.
However, Longford consumers appear to have mixed views about the issue.
According to well established Ballymahon butcher, John Malynn, “there has been a slight change business wise”.
“People probably do appreciate more, now, that the local butcher is providing good produce,” he added.
“The butcher has always been proactive when it comes to traceability and that is very significant.
“I can see this horsemeat scandal having a positive impact on the local family butcher.”
Another local family butcher in Ballymahon – Tommy O’Colgan of O’Colgan Butchers - a business that has been firmly established in the south Longford town for the past 42 years - stated that his business had increased since the horsemeat was discovered in frozen foods.
“Yes, definitely people are coming back to the local butcher; valuewise the local butcher is no match anyway and the best of produce is available with 100% traceability,” Mr O’Colgan continued.
“It is a bit of a scandal what happened and it didn’t create a level playing field for everyone either, but I hope that more people will come back to the local butcher – that would be very positive.”
In Edgeworthstown, members of the public had mixed views about the scandal.
“I have always bought my meat in the supermarkets,” Maria Sheridan, Edgeworthstown said.
“I will continue to do that, however, I will not be buying frozen burgers and have never bought them anyway.
“I have three kids and to be honest with you, I think the whole thing is a lot of hype about nothing.”
Local man Peter Flood, while admitting that it was “the wife who does the shopping”, said, that he wasn’t “too bothered about the horsemeat scandal”.
“It wouldn’t bother me too much; nobody got sick,” he continued.
“We always go to the butcher anyway, and I wouldn’t like to think that there was horsemeat in the burgers.
“I would be suspicious of frozen food, but the deli counter in the supermarket or the butcher should be fine, I’d say.”
Maureen Browne from Granard said she always went to the butcher or deli counter at the Supermarket for her meat supplies.
Ballymahon’s Ann Murtagh added, “I certainly won’t be buying frozen burgers after this.
“I never bought them anyway and I always buy my meat at the butcher.
“If I want burgers, I buy the mince at the butcher and I make my own.”
Meanwhile, Michael Joyce from Longford town felt that it was “probably better” to purchase fresh Irish beef as opposed to the frozen version, from now on.
“I tend not to buy frozen foods anyway, and I do think that the latest scandal will impact on the way people think about meat.”