Irwin expresses concern over horse meat debacle

Posted by
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and Stormont Agriculture Committee member Cllr. William Irwin MLA has said the discovery of horse meat in supermarket beef burgers was a concerning situation which deserved “rigid investigation”. Irwin felt aggrieved that conscientious and hard-working farmers in Northern Ireland, who abide by the strictest traceability regulations, are being short changed in the supermarkets by suppliers of cheaper produce which has been found to contain horse meat. Speaking to Newry Times, he stated, “Our farm quality assurance scheme here in Northern Ireland gives consumers a great level of confidence that the food they are eating is the best possible quality and is designed to enable the tracing of the product from the farm to the supermarket shelf. “That is a good thing and our produce is so much the better for it. It is however deeply concerning when you discover that on the shelves along-side our very strictly traced, superior meat products, are much cheaper meat products that are not locally sourced and are therefore not subject to these same strict traceability rules.” “I certainly would echo the sentiments of UFU President Harry Sinclair when he stated that this incident highlights exactly why consumers should be opting for locally sourced, farm quality assured beef,” Irwin continued. “This incident has proven how important it is for the consumer to have confidence in the products and every effort needs to be made by FSAI and Food Standards Agency to actively investigate any processors or suppliers who seek to knowingly add lesser quality or questionable ingredients to make that product cheaper to supply.” He added, “Whilst there has been no risk to public health based on the information so far, it does not excuse this incident and I expect the strictest of penalties for whoever is found to have been responsible for this incident. “Our farmers in Northern Ireland produce beef that is world class and that should not in any way be detracted from and I would urge people to support Northern Ireland farmers by always buying locally sourced produce.”
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