Detail on the tests on the stored meat in Newry…

Okay, after a day of confusion (some of it self inflicted on my part), as near as I think we have it, this is statement from Newry and Mourne District council, clarifying the situation of the meat at Freeza Meats, which had ONLY in storage (ie, not part of the production at that plant):

Newry and Mourne District Council’s Environmental Health Department can confirm that DNA tests on samples of burgers made at Freeza Meats were found to be free from non-beef DNA. These tests were completed immediately after the results of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s survey were issued.

However, twelve samples of Polish meat belonging to another company which is under investigation following the horse DNA results from Silvercrest were sent for DNA analysis. Two of these samples contained approximately 80% horse DNA. This meat had been detained for the last five months due to the condition of its wrapping and queries regarding its labelling and traceability.

The product was sampled as a result of the Food Standards Agency and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s on-going investigation. We can confirm that none of the meat was used in production and it will not be entering the food chain.

John Farrell, Newry & Mourne District Council’s Director of Environment, Health & Building Services has commended the Environmental Health Officers involved whose diligent and thorough investigations have prevented further horse meat from entering the food chain. He also wishes to confirm that Freeza Meats of Newry have co-operated fully with our investigation.

We further understand this meat (which does not belong to Freeza Meats) has already been quarantined for months because of labelling irregularities, and that tests were conducted several weeks back by the council. The results were put on the FSA’s website last night and then given wider publicity, as noted earlier when Simon Coveney announced in Prime Time.

As the Health Minister might want us to remind us, there is no public health problems with this meat. It is merely the horse content that’s at question here. Stand by for further untangling, as and when it we get it/understand it.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty