Tipperary meat plant resumes business
The BF Meats plant in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, which was at the centre of investigations into the horse meat scandal resumed work yesterday after having its licence withdrawn last week.
Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said he expects to have “a comprehensive interim report” on his department’s investigation into the presence of horse meat in Irish meat products within two weeks.
“I am hoping to draw our investigation to a conclusion, the Irish aspect of it anyway, within the next fortnight,” he said. “At that point we may well have to leave the investigation open, if there are any new leads that need to be followed, but we will be in a position to draw some conclusions at least for some of the main elements of the investigation.”
Met the standards
Operations were suspended at the BF Meats plant in Carrick-on-Suir last Friday after it had been discovered that it had been sending horse meat, labelled as beef, to a customer in the Czech Republic, via a UK-based trader.
Mr Coveney said he was “not happy” with BF Meats but it had met the standards and criteria laid out under its licence so he did not have the power to prevent it reopening.
“I have to apply the rules and regulations as they are so from that point of view the department doesn’t have the power to prevent BF Meats getting up and running again.”
He said his department was working with gardaí to see whether it was possible to take a legal case on that issue. In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said BF Meats “have now complied with all the requirements of the compliance notice served on the company and department is not in a position to prevent the company resuming business”.
“The company will, however, from now on be subject to more stringent official controls having regard to the recent incident.”
BF Meats issued a statement yesterday, saying it had been advised by the Department of Agriculture that it had concluded its investigations into the export of horse meat products “and on the basis of its findings has reinstated the various EU approvals of the company, with immediate effect.
“From the start of the investigation, the company was satisfied that its records would clearly show that it had not at any stage misrepresented the nature of its products and that it had at all times acted in accordance with the terms of its contract with its UK-based client and its own documented operational procedures,” it said.
BF Meats is a small-scale plant working with beef and horse meat. Its main premises in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, closed after a fire last year.