Polish firms offer to send meat samples to Dublin
Polish companies suspected of involvement in Ireland’s horse meat scandal have offered to send samples from their factories to Dublin for further tests.
With Polish DNA results pending yesterday, Polish authorities said preliminary tests had shown no equine material in five of six facilities flagged by the Irish authorities.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney appears before the Oireachtas agriculture committee today to explain how Irish tests of suspect burgers reportedly revealed up to one-fifth horse DNA content relative to beef.
The Department of Agriculture said all three burgers containing horse material used off-cuts delivered as a frozen block from a processor in Poland to Silvercrest Meats in Ballybay, Co Monaghan.
A spokesman for Mr Coveney said the Minister was “110 per cent certain” of the veracity of test results, which were based on an extensive paper trail as well as testing.
The spokesman declined to comment on whether the Government would take up the Poles on the offer of further testing.
“We have had no official correspondence on the Polish investigation, we don’t know what they have tested and we have no detail or timeline,” said the spokesman.
“Until then, we won’t be commenting on anything from the Polish side.”
Polish investigators have questioned the Irish test results, insisting all animals in Polish abattoirs are inspected before and after slaughter.
In Warsaw yesterday, the head of the Polish investigation insisted producers from Poland were just one link in a chain of suspects.
Jaroslaw Naze, deputy chief of Poland’s veterinary inspectorate, refused to name companies on the list his body received from Ireland.
A Polish company named over the weekend in Ireland as the source of the horse meat declined to comment.
“The investigation is still in place. At this stage we are widening the search and have ordered to check the distribution lists of all Polish abattoirs dealing with equine material,” said Mr Naze.
“Polish companies suspected by the Irish are ready to send their meat samples to be examined in Ireland.”
Agriculture committee chairman Andrew Doyle said yesterday Mr Coveney and Prof Alan O’Reilly of the Food Safety Authority could outline the chain of events to the committee, in addition to explaining the methodology used to carry out the tests and validation of the source of the horsemeat.
Mr Doyle said the committee would hold a brief private session at which it would decide whether to formally to write to Larry Goodman’s ABP companies and invite senior executives to appear before the committee.