Tuesday 23 January 2018

I won't be changing way I'm briefed, vows Coveney

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

AGRICULTURE Minister Simon Coveney won't be changing the way in which his officials brief him, despite not being told of the horse burger affair for three weeks.

Mr Coveney was only informed of the problem last week, although his department was contacted a month ago.

Senior management in two departmental units were notified by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) of the preliminary results of its survey of meat products on sale in some shops where horse DNA trace amounts were detected.

The FSAI asked the department that same day, Friday, December 21, to take samples of raw ingredients from the two meat processing plants where the burgers were processed.

The results of the second tests came back to the FSAI on the evening of Friday, January 11, and were analysed. The FSAI informed the department of its findings on January 14, and the minister was then told.

Mr Coveney briefed the Cabinet on the issue the following day. However, the department said there was nothing unusual about how events panned out: "You wouldn't raise something up the line until it is 100pc verified. You give full verified results," a spokesperson said.

Irish Independent

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