Industry 'will withstand scandal'
Published 16/01/2013 | 13:20
Food marketing chiefs have said the industry in Ireland should be strong enough to withstand the horse meat burger scandal.
Bord Bia, which markets businesses and their products around the world, said it is too early to assess the potential impact, if any, on exports.
Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, described the horse meat controversy as a disappointment.
"This is a disappointing development at a time when the Irish food industry has been performing so strongly," Mr Cotter said.
"Nevertheless it is important to note that the industry's success is based on robust relationships with premium customers, built up over an extended period and capable of withstanding many challenges.
"Bord Bia is liaising closely with the FSAI and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to provide all the necessary assurances to overseas customers where required."
Ireland's food exports surpassed 9 billion euro for the first time last year. The industry has been promoted and billed as a major success story in the midst of the recession and long-running banking, property and financial crises.
Ciara Jackson, Grant Thornton head of food, warned about the reputational damage being done to the Irish food sector on the back of the investigation.
"Every second that the horse meat story runs on Sky News could translate into millions of euros in lost sales," she said, adding that the integrity of the food supply chain in Ireland was the bedrock that underpins the food and drink industry.
"All stakeholders in the meat business, from farmers through to supermarkets, are under severe pressure to sustain profitability," she said. "Now, more than ever, it is vital the industry collaborates to create a resilient supply chain that can deliver cost efficiencies whilst ensuring Irish produce maintains its international reputation."