Wednesday 22 February 2017

BSE threat to Irish exports could cause havoc

Published 13/06/2015 | 02:30

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney

Franz Fischler was not prone to exaggeration. So his stark assessment of the beef industry in autumn 1997 was taken on board - and still stands as a revealing vignette of what BSE can do to what is arguably Ireland's only real indigenous industry.

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The then-EU Agriculture Commissioner , speaking in Brussels on September 25, 1997, warned that huge amounts of intervention beef would soon be stockpiled across Europe. Because of BSE, there were already 600,000 tonnes of unwanted beef in EU cold stores - the equivalent of two million animals, he said. The Austrian academic warned of a return to the dreaded food mountains of the 1970s and 1980s, which did so much to disrupt trade and discredit Europe and the food industry.

Spool on through the intervening 18 years to the reports of a suspected BSE case in Co Louth.

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