Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, James Bannon has blamed the previous government for failing to introduce clear and unambiguous food labelling laws as a factor in horsemeat finding its way into frozen beef burgers.
“That administration chose to leave the public essentially shopping in the dark and the integrity of Irish beef open to question, to the detriment of the industry”, he said earlier today. “This latest question over our national beef industry and our international standing is a huge blow to our struggling economy. Until all safeguards in terms of labelling are put in place, such scares will continue to put our beef industry and agricultural industry at risk... our farmers deserve to know that the same rigorous standards they employ will be replicated at the food processing stage.”
Deputy Bannon added that he was satisfied with the current government’s response: “I am encouraged by the speed with which the Department of Agriculture has responded to this scare, but anxious to see that the issue of labelling and sourcing of food ingredients is resolved once and for all.”
In tests on 27 brands of beef burgers conducted by the Food Safety Authority this week, 10 were found to contain equine DNA, while many also contained pork. Affected products have been withdrawn from sale and investigations are underway to establish how these incidents occured.