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Warning over future counterfeit food threat

Rising food prices means counterfeit food is likely to become an increasing concern in the future, Food Safety head tells TheJournal.ie, following death of 19 Czechs from fake alcohol.

Professor Alan Reilly, Chief Executive of Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Professor Alan Reilly, Chief Executive of Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Image: Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

AN INCREASE IN agricultural commodity prices and the skyrocketing price of food has raised concerns over counterfeit food, says the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Speaking from an international conference being held in Dublin today on food safety, the head of the Authority Professor Alan Reilly said that Ireland and other countries needed to be increasingly vigilant against the threat.

“The increase in food prices will increase pressure to use perhaps sub-standard raw materials in products such as animal feed” Prof. Reilly told TheJournal.ie. “It could lead to recycling foods and sometimes recyling material such as oils that are inappropriate for the food chain.”

Contaminated feed has caused problems in the past in Ireland. In late 2008, pig farms across Ireland purchased contaminated feed from a single mill, leading to a 100 per cent recall of all pork products. 1,800 jobs were lost within the first few days of the crisis.

“We need to be on our game to make sure we have systems to detect forms of adulteration.

What we may see is below grade or sub-standard fish and meat labeled as something different. Because of the increase in prices and the economic situation we live in, the opportunity is there for people to make money. We saw it in the Czech Republic two weeks ago where sub-standard alcohol spirits killed 19 people and made mre sick. So we haven’t see it here yet, but we have to keep our eye out.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is hosting a joint conference with the European Food Safety Authority in Dublin today, where it is looking at current and future issues surrounding food safety in Europe.

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