ICMSA leads calls for calm amid BSE “crisis”

John Comer, President, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association

The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, John Comer, has told ShelfLife that it is important not to "over-react" to the discovery of a suspected case of BSE on a farm in Co. Louth.



12 June 2015

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“This is undoubtedly a serious matter,” Comer said, “but we have confronted and dealt with BSE very efficiently in the past. I have no doubt that this instance will be dealt with in a similarly effective manner.”

Comer added that while his organisation would never downplay the importance of such an issue, he has complete confidence in the state-of-the-art response and containment systems that exist. “I doubt whether this incident could threaten the kind of market penetration and international recognition that Irish beef has been achieving over the last number of years,” he said.

Although any outbreak of BSE would be a complicated issue affecting several industries, ICMSA’s statement echoes those of the Irish Farmers’ Association, praising the Department of Agriculture’s state-of-the art systems for identifying and isolating potential BSE cases long before they are introduced in to the food chain.

Sources also indicate that major retailers intend not to speculate on any effect the case may have on their business or supply chain until confirmation on the case arrives. Laboratory tests are expected to take up to seven days.

Just last week, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) awarded Ireland a “negligible risk status” for potential BSE cases. If the case in Louth is confirmed, this status is likely to be reviewed, although according to Bord Bia, under “controlled risk status” Ireland will still be able to trade in Europe, the USA, Japan and elsewhere.





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