Hunt for supplier of 'angel dust' found on farm
Investigations are underway to trace the supplier of a significant quantity of angel dust found on a farm in the border region after on-farm testing detected the use of the illegal growth promoter.
A probe is under way to trace the supplier of a significant quantity of the substance that was found on a farm.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has swiftly moved to confirm it is aware of the detection of the drug clenbuterol, after an animal processed for the food chain tested positive. It emphasised that there was “no risk to public health from meat that is on the market”.
The stimulant, used in the past by a small number of farmers to build up muscle on average sized cattle, has been banned throughout the EU.
The suspect animal had been sent for slaughtering for the food chain at meat processor ABP's facility in Clones.
All animals on the Co Monaghan farm where the animal originated have been put under restriction.
A number of searches have been carried out in the border region with a member of the Agriculture Department's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) allegedly assaulted as they carried out a search last Monday in the Ballybay area of Co Monaghan.
The following day gardaí and the team from the SIU carried out a search at a property where they discovered what appeared to be a significant quantity of angel dust in the attic of the house. It was taken away for further analysis.
A spokesman for meat processor ABP confirmed it had been informed there was a potential issue identified in a single animal processed at its Clones facility in mid-May.
“As part of its on-farm testing and residue controls programme, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has identified an irregularity on a farm in the Meath/Cavan/Monaghan area. Earlier this week, ABP was informed by the Department of a potential issue with a single animal processed at its Clones facility in mid-May from the farm.
"In situations like this with limited details of the issue, ABP will take guidance and direction from the relevant authorities who have informed the company that there was not a food safety risk associated with meat from this animal," he said.
A spokesman for the Department confirmed restrictions were continuing at the farm.
There is no human health risk from product that may have entered the food chain.
"The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is fully aware of the case and has concluded that there is no risk to public health from meat that is on the market," the spokesman said.
Joe Healy president of the Irish Farmers' Association, said: "The IFA does not condone the use of any illegal substances in food production. The detection highlights the stringent tests that are in place to protect the food chain from farm to fork."