O’Keeffe calls for meat investigation

Labour Senator deeply concerned by report in Guardian about food chain

Larry Goodman: a spokesman for the businessman’s ABP said it had not bought meat from Willy Selten but that it was ABP’s understanding that meat sold to it by English firm Norwest Foods was on occasion sourced from the Dutch businessman

Larry Goodman: a spokesman for the businessman’s ABP said it had not bought meat from Willy Selten but that it was ABP’s understanding that meat sold to it by English firm Norwest Foods was on occasion sourced from the Dutch businessman

 


Labour Party Senator Susan O’Keeffe has called for the Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland to establish whether unfit meat is entering the food chain.

The former journalist, whose work 21 years ago led to the establishment of the beef tribunal, said she had read with deep concern a report in yesterday’s Guardian dealing with the horsemeat scandal.

Among other matters, the article said criminal elements in Northern Ireland were believed to be linked to the sale of undocumented horses to an English abattoir and that product from this abattoir went to plants belonging to Dutch businessman Willy Selten, whose businesses earlier this year recalled 50,000 tonnes of meat which the Dutch authorities believe may have been falsely labelled.

The article also said workers at one of Mr Selten’s plants said they had mixed horsemeat with old, defrosted beef. Mr Selten told the newspaper and Dutch TV that the mixed meat was intended as pet food. It was not claimed that this meat had ended up in Ireland.


Goodman statement
A spokesman for Larry Goodman’s ABP said it had not bought meat from Mr Selten but that it was ABP’s understanding that meat sold to it by English firm Norwest Foods was on occasion sourced from the Dutch businessman.

“The amount of product that ended up at ABP Silvercrest [which earlier this year was found to have made burgers containing horsemeat] equates to less than 0.1 per cent of the amount involved in the product recall, and under 0.2 per cent of Silvercrest’s total annual production.”

ABP let management at its Silvercrest plant go and sold the plant after it emerged it had produced burgers that contained horsemeat using product imported from continental Europe.

Norwest Foods, established a few years ago by Ray McSharry jnr, son of the former Irish minister for finance, has recently reached a settlement with ABP arising from what it said was its unwitting supply of contaminated beef to ABP. Attempts to contact Norwest Foods last night were unsuccessful.

Mr Goodman’s firm has also commenced proceedings in the High Court against a second supplier – Poland’s Food Service – for the alleged supply of contaminated beef.

The ABP spokesman said the group no longer dealt with third-party meat traders and conducts extensive tests on the meat that it processes.

“ABP has made it clear we have never knowingly bought horsemeat, and if equine was deliberately introduced into the food chain, then we are among those who have suffered as a result of such activity. The incident at our plant occurred as the result of fraud and criminal activity across the EU which led us to be sold contaminated beef by third party suppliers. Many other meat processors and food companies were similarly affected.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture said its comprehensive inquiry into the horsemeat issue had concluded that the adulteration of the meat appeared to have occurred in the supply chain outside of Ireland.