Horse DNA not found in Irish raw materials to date, says Minister

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney today said 'no final conclusions' could be drawn surrounding the horse DNA controversy
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney today said 'no final conclusions' could be drawn surrounding the horse DNA controversy

Minister Coveney today said it was "encouraging" that test results to date indicated no presence of horse DNA in Irish raw materials but added that no conclusions could be drawn before all results were analysed



25 January 2013

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The government’s official investigation into the source of horse DNA at Silvercrest has to date indicated "no presence of equine DNA in raw materials sourced in Ireland."

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, today described the finding as "encouraging," yet stressed that "no final conclusions should be drawn before all results are received and assessed."

The Minister said: "It is important to outline the context of the investigation; it is a very large processing facility that is producing 20,000 tonnes of burgers per annum, with a wide range of ingredients. The investigation is being carried out in a systematic fashion and this requires the correlation of all the information necessary to draw credible conclusions".

He added that over 130 samples of burgers and ingredients have been taken in the past week and a range of results are currently being received.

"These results are subject to confirmatory verification in a different laboratory and are being correlated with other results," said the Minister. "As part of this process, some 24 preliminary results were received late last night from a laboratory in Germany and these have been sent to an Irish laboratory for confirmatory quantitative analysis."

He highlighted the fact that a wide range of ingredients are used in the production of burgers which can vary by batch and this further complicates the process of drawing conclusions on the role that any particular ingredient may have played in this incident.

Stating that all concerned had "a right to expect" that the investigation would be conducted in "a thorough and rigorous way," he said he would not draw a conclusion until he was "fully satisfied" that it was supported by facts.

"In any food incident the emphasis is always on dealing with the matter thoroughly, promptly and as transparently as possible to ensure that consumer confidence in the integrity of Irish food production is maintained," Minister Coveney said.

He emphasised that no food safety was involved and that the tested products had already been withdrawn from the market and that the plant involved is not currently in production.

He added that he "fully appreciates the importance of recommencing production as soon as possible and all efforts are geared towards facilitating this objective".

Silvercrest, which is part of the ABP Food Group, is currently conducting its own investigation into the horse DNA findings. In a press statement the group said it, "is concentrating its efforts on its internal investigations and it remains entirely focussed on that task." The company declined to "comment further, pending the conclusion of those investigations."




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