Police probe plant over horsemeat
Published 22/02/2013 | 09:36
Police are investigating an Irish processing plant shut down after inspectors found it was exporting horsemeat under a Czech label which translated as beef.
B&F Meats, a small-scale deboning factory in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, was selling mislabelled product to a customer in the Czech Republic through a trader based in the UK.
Simon Coveney, Agriculture Minister, has said all operations at the plant have been suspended and gardai tonight confirmed they were supporting a probe by officials.
Officers from the Department of Agriculture's special investigations unit carried out searches at the factory on Friday afternoon. The department said B&F Meats had been approved to debone beef and horsemeat.
Mr Coveney described the factory as a "small scale" operation.
Elsewhere, officials said wider investigations into the extent of the horsemeat scandal involved forensic examination of electronic data and records associated with consignments of beef products.
The special investigators and the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation were involved, with inspections also taking place of food business operators including traders, transporters, processors and exporters.
As part of the EU-wide co-ordinated control plan, another 50 food samples will be checked for horse DNA during March in Ireland.
Also, an approach to DNA testing for horsemeat has been agreed with businesses to inspect pre-packaged beef products on sale in shops or to mass caterers, beef products offered for sale without pre-packaging to consumers or to mass caterers, and meat ingredients used in processed beef products.
The department is introducing a positive release programme for horses destined for the food chain with only animals testing negative for residues of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, commonly known as bute, allowed on the market. The scheme will run for one month initially.