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McDonald's and Albert Heijn stand firm behind Irish beef






Two of Ireland's biggest beef buyers - McDonald's and Dutch retailer Albert Heijn - have said they will continue to sell Irish beef following the discovery of a cow infected with BSE in Louth.

The BSE case, revealed on Friday, is the first case of mad cow disease found in Ireland since 2013. It may impact on Ireland's recently awarded "negligible risk status" from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

A spokeswoman for McDonald's - the single biggest buyer of Irish beef - said it has not taken any action following the discovery.

The world's biggest fast-food chain buys 40,000 tonnes of Irish beef every year. One in every five McDonald's hamburgers sold in Europe is made from Irish beef.

The company was aware of the issue, the spokeswoman said, but the animal was not presented for slaughter and did not enter the food chain.

It had been assured by the Government that ante-mortem examinations ensure that only healthy animals can enter the food chain.

Department store chain Albert Heijn is another of the largest buyers of Irish beef. The Netherlands gets a fifth of its beef from Ireland.

The company had been informed of the BSE discovery, a spokesperson said.

"The suspected cow has not entered the food chain. The cow was kept for milk, not for beef as we understand it. The traceability and monitoring controls in place in Ireland are stringent and robust.

"As a consequence, we have not yet made any changes in our supply originating from Ireland, other than intensifying our own regular controls and monitoring upon entry of the beef in our supply chain."

Sunday Indo Business