Consumers warned about buying stolen meat

Warning follows theft of 36 beef carcases from Northern Ireland food business

Food safety and health officials are worried the stolen meat may not be processed properly. Photogrpah: Getty Images

Food safety and health officials are worried the stolen meat may not be processed properly. Photogrpah: Getty Images

 

Food businesses have been warned by the food safety watchdog to avoid purchasing meat from unapproved sources, after a container with 36 beef carcases inside was stolen in Northern Ireland.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said the container was stolen from a Northern Irish food business, and warned customers and businesses against purchasing meat from unregistered outlets or online.

There is a concern among food safety and health officials the stolen meat may not be processed in line with safety and hygiene laws, creating a potential public health risk if it is later consumed.

The FSAI are working with An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland to investigate the theft.

Dr Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive, said “there is no way of knowing whether beef purchased from unregistered sources adhere to food safety requirements around cutting, storage and handling.”

There is an additional public health risk as some of the 36 carcases were from cattle over 30 months of age, which brings added complications in preparing the meat.

“Proper cutting, storage and handling of beef at all times is a critical element in food safety management. As such, we are urging food businesses and consumers alike to be vigilant against purchasing beef from unregistered sources at any time,” Dr Byrne said.