Irish Agriculture Minister: “I am seriously concerned about this development…”

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I haven’t been posting on every twist and turn  [Not "an isolated instance", then? - Ed] of the still unravelling story of the Europe-wide horse meat for beef scandal.  But this looks like it could be a significant development.  From the RTÉ report

A processing plant in Co Tipperary has been shut down after inspectors found it was exporting horse meat under a label in the Czech language which translated as beef.

B&F Meats, a small-scale deboning factory in Carrick-on-Suir was selling a mislabelled product to a customer in the Czech Republic through a trader based in the UK.

And from the Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s press release

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney today provided a further update on the ongoing investigation into the mislabelling of meat products and announced new measures to step up the detection of food fraud. 

Investigation continues 

The investigation led by the Department’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) continues in conjunction with the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. This involves forensic examination of electronic data and records associated with consignments of beef products. It also involves detailed inspections of certain food business operators including traders, transporters, processers and exporters. The SIU is also liaising with counterparts in other Member States and Europol in relation to this pan European investigation.  

Suspension of all operations at B&F Meats (Carrick on Suir). 

In this context it has been discovered that B&F Meats, a small scale plant approved to debone beef and horsemeat, was despatching some horsemeat to a single customer in the Czech Republic via a UK based trader using a label in the Czech language which, when translated, refers to beef. The Department has suspended all operations at the plant with immediate effect. Officers of the SIU have, this afternoon entered the plant to carry out a full investigation. The Minister said “I am seriously concerned about this development and the Gardai have been fully appraised of this development and are working closely with my Department. The issue here is one of mislabelling and that will be the focus of the investigation”. [added emphasis]

Of course, it could just be human error…

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