Suspected 'mad-cow' case to set industry back years
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney moved to quell fears over the impact on the country's €2.2bn beef industry, as a probe got underway into the cause of a suspected case of BSE on a dairy farm.
It comes just days after a key world animal health organisation declared that Ireland was effectively BSE-free.
However, the first potential case of 'mad cow disease' since 2013 will now set the country's BSE-free progress back by six years.
Mr Coveney swiftly moved to stress the rare breed dairy cow in Co Louth cow appeared to be an "isolated" case, and they had made contact with Ireland's valuable beef export markets to inform them.
The Department of Agriculture's Chief Veterinary officer, Martin Blake, admitted he was 80pc certain tests would confirm that the cow was Ireland's first case of BSE in more than two years.
Mr Coveney said the discovery of the cow in routine testing emphasised the robust system in place in Ireland, as he stressed there was no "risk" to human health.
Bord Bia said it is confident that this isolated case will not adversely impact on the reputation of Irish beef among its European and international customer base, with half a million tonnes of beef worth around €2.2bn exported each year.
However, the body charged with selling Ireland's multi-million euro food industry abroad, pointed out Ireland still retained its 'controlled risk status' which had allowed Ireland to "achieve access to the US, Japan and to secure the recent lifting of the beef ban in China".