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Independent.ie

Saturday 21 July 2018

Investigation launched amid fears diseased meat entered food chain

Stock picture
Stock picture
The Department of Agriculture is investigating whether meat from fallen animals may have entered the food chain. Stock image.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

It's been reported that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has launched an investigation after alleged false records were found at a knackery that handles sick or fallen animals.

The Sunday Times reports that the Department's Special Investigation's Unit is looking to see if meat from this knackery may have entered the food chain.

It reports that large quantities of meat was sold without being sprayed to identify it as being from a fallen animal and the Department is now trying to trace all the meat processed at the knackery.

It also says that the meat could have been sold on the black market to restaurants or through door-to-door sales and it has yet to confirm the full scale of the problem.

The Department of Agriculture said today that it has received no reports that meat harvested at the knackeries has illegally entered the food chain and that any if any such information is available, it should be brought to the attention of the Department, who will investigate.

Unlike meat factories, Irish knackeries are able to operate without direct supervision of a State vet and a report by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland last year raised concerns about the standards of some Irish kanckeries.

The report last year by the FSAI found that there were no procedures in place to verify that animals did not die as a result of a disease that could transfer to humans or animals.

It also found that animals being shot on-sites by untrained staff and there were fundamental deficiencies relating to the staining and labelling of Animal by Products. In one establishment, significant volumes of tripe, packed in plastic bags, were stored in a large refrigerated container with no traceability as to where it came from.

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The Department of Agriculture approves knackers in Ireland and today it confirmed that no audits of the knackeries by the European Commission or any other European Agency have taken place over the last number of years.


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