THE IRISH CATTLE and Sheep Farmers’ Association president, Gabriel Gilmartin and Fine Gael TD, Paudie Coffey have both called for permanent DNA testing throughout the meat processing industry in Europe.
The calls come after the European Commission announced they would implement a three-month programme of random DNA testing on meat products.
Gilmartin also called for a clampdown on the meat trading industry:
There needs to be a complete review of the role of meat traders and it seems that there is an urgent need to look at what licensing conditions should be imposed on them.
Deputy Coffey said that DNA testing on a continuous basis would benefit Irish farmers and would help protect their industry and livelihoods:
Farmers in Ireland should have nothing to fear from this process being rolled out because their produce is of the highest standard… Ireland must continue to take the lead on this issue to reassure consumers that Irish meat is 100 percent guaranteed.
Meanwhile, the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív, has called on the European Commission to begin mandatory testing of all horse carcasses across Europe for the veterinary drug ‘bute’, which poses a risk to public health.
Deputy Ó Cuív said the EU’s decision to randomly test beef produce and horse meat in affected countries does not go far enough and wants a mandatory centralised ID system for horses in each European country to be introduced, “like we have for cattle in Ireland, which would make it a lot easier to trace the origin of the meat”.
Earlier today, Monaghan Meat Processing company Rangeland Foods announced that they would be withdrawing some of its beef burgers after batches tested positive in the UK for between 5 per cent and 30 per cent horsemeat.