Plant shut down after animals mislabelled
A HORSE slaughtering plant has had its operations suspended after officials discovered many of the animals were not what they were claimed to be, writes Aideen Sheehan.
The Department of Agriculture said it had discovered irregularities in the identification of 25 horses presented for slaughter at Ossory Meats in Banagher, Co Offaly, last Friday.
This included horses presented as yearlings that were, in fact, much older. In other cases there were problems with the passport and microchip identifiers, while in some cases the marking on the horse and in the passports were very different.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told the Dail his officials had discovered the problem after taking over control of horse abbatoirs from local authorities.
"What gave rise to the incident at Ossory Meats and the subsequent suspension of the plant is totally unacceptable but will be pursued with full vigour," he said.
The department's investigation into horse meat and mislabelling of processed meat did not uncover any illegal introduction of horse meat into the food chain in Ireland, but it was accelerating its review of horse identification and controls.