Any 'inappropriate' links will be highlighted
Any companies involved in the production of beef burgers containing horse meat will be named, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.
If there are inappropriate linkages here, we will highlight those, he added. As far as I can see to date, there is no linkage between some of the companies that have sold product in...in terms of ownership of companies, he said.
Mr Coveney said they should wait and see until there was a full picture, because there were multiple sources for some of the product.
The Minister was replying in the Dáil this afternoon to Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman Martin Ferris, who asked if any of the companies involved were owned by beef baron Larry Goodman.
Mr Ferris said was very important that the companies from the Netherlands and Spain be named.
Were any of those companies owned by Larry Goodman and were any of the companies that distributed here owned by Larry Goodman?, he asked.
Earlier Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil there was no public health risk from the beef burgers containing horse meat.
He told the Dáil today that the Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety Authority were working closely to identify exactly how it had occurred.
The Government's priority was to ensure the source of the problem was uncovered and appropriate action taken to ensure there is no question mark about the quality of beef products from Ireland, he added.
Mr Gilmore said he had spoken to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney this morning about the matter.
The Tánaiste was replying to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who said people needed to know what they were eating. The same standards should apply, in terms of quality and ingredients and the make-up of meat, no matter what the price is, he added.
People's right to food safety should not depend on much they are able to spend on food, said Mr Martin.
Separately, in a statement, Fianna Fáil spokesman on food Éamon Ó Cuív called on Mr Coveney to publish “publish all investigations into the practice of illegal horse slaughtering taking place in Irish abattoirs”. Mr Ó Cuiv urged him to rule out any link between illegal horse slaughtering in the State and contaminated beef burgers.
In a statement, Fine Gael TD Sean Conlon has called for mandatory DNA tracing of processed meat products across Europe. “Ireland is ahead of the game when it comes to DNA tracing; and it is time the rest of Europe caught up with us,” he said.
“Our priority is to ensure the source of this problem is uncovered; and I believe a comprehensive DNA tracing system across the EU would prevent a situation like this from happening again,” he said.
The contamination “highlights the need for a greater level of food traceability” Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman Martin Ferris said in a statement today. He called for a “more comprehensive system” of food traceability and labelling.