THE horsemeat scandal that caused controversy across Europe is unlikely to ever happen again, the head of the statutory body responsible for food safety told Cork councillors this week.
Prof. Alan Reilly, chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, pictured, made the comments at this week's meeting of Cork County Council, where he gave a presentation on the recent scandal and the FSAI's findings and recommendations arising from the debacle.
Prof Reilly said that the checks and balances that have been put in place since the controversy broke mean that produce will undergo rigorous testing from now on.
"Before, the industry norm was that meat was bought from suppliers on trust, and was never questioned. Well, we did question it and the industry norm is now to test meat," he said.
"I cannot see something like horsemeat happening again," Prof Reilly told the council.
Meanwhile, answering questions from councillors, Prof Reilly said there is no threat to public health due to the adding of fluoride to Cork's drinking water
While acknowledging that the debate has resurfaced due to a "passionate anti-fluoride lobby," Prof Reilly said that he does not believe the policy, decided by the Department of Health, is a risk to the public.
"I do not believe there is any risk to public health and if I did I would advise the Minister for Health accordingly," he said.
Prof Reilly said that a review of fluoride levels in water in 2002 led to a reduction of fluoridation from 1 parts per million to between 0.6 and 0.8ppm.