Milk supplies restricted due to feed scare, says McGimpsey

Wed, Dec 10, 2008, 00:00

REACTION IN NORTH:MILK SUPPLIES are being restricted as the scope of the contaminated animal feed scare widens, the Northern Ireland Minister for Health said yesterday.

Michael McGimpsey stressed that it was safe to eat beef and drink milk found in shops and supermarkets in the North.

Eight beef herds and one beef and dairy herd in Northern Ireland have been identified as consuming tainted feed, after an analysis by Northern Ireland’s food safety body, the Food Standards Agency (FSA). It said last night that no pigs had eaten the potentially cancer-causing food.

“One farm has been identified as having fed contaminated feed to dairy cattle,” Mr McGimpsey said. “All milk from this farm has now been prevented from entering the food chain.

“All previous supplies of milk from this farm were sent to a single purchaser in the Republic of Ireland,” he added.

DUP Assembly member Edwin Poots attacked Mr McGimpsey’s decision last night to ask for pork to be taken off supermarket shelves.

“Does the Minister accept that the spectacular over-reaction yesterday in taking pork off the shelves when no pigs had actually consumed any contaminated material didn’t engender consumer confidence but has caused a crisis in consumer confidence which is now spreading to other sectors within the meat and milk industry?” he asked.

“The sooner Mr McGimpsey and the FSA take actions which do engender consumer confidence the better for all of us.”

Mr McGimpsey accused the member for Lagan Valley of opportunism.

“It is quite clear that Mr Poots is playing politics with what is an extremely serious situation and I think this type of politicking is reprehensible in the extreme and it isn’t me or anyone else who is hyping up the situation but Mr Poots.”

He said that had he not taken the step he did then Brussels would have intervened and closed the pork industry down. – (PA)