Speaking after raising the issue at today’s North South Ministerial Council, Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate and chair of SafeFood, Lynn Boylan has called on the Agriculture Minister to support the call for an all-Ireland body to deal with emerging food issues.
Lynn Boylan said:
“If we have learnt anything from the horsemeat scandal it is that we have real challenges in the food production sector.
“The complex cross border food chain, an oversupply of horsemeat and pressure from large retailers and their suppliers to cut costs combined to create the perfect set of circumstances for fraud to occur.
“There is one very straightforward mechanism that could immediately be put in place to take on this challenge that would not cost the tax payer a cent.
“A core independent body of experts to monitor the food industry for emerging issues is a key necessity to best take on this challenge. This body would include all relevant stakeholders in the food industry. They would meet on a quarterly basis where they could anonymously feed in any issues on food safety and quality that they believe warrant further scrutiny.
“SafeFood is the body responsible for researching issues relating to food safety and healthy eating across the island. Its non-regulatory role puts it in a good position to act as a neutral broker and facilitate meetings of food industry stakeholders. It’s the perfect all island body to monitor the industry for emerging issues.
“Michelle O’Neill, Minister for Agriculture in the Assembly, who has already voiced her support for this proposal reiterated it at today’s meeting and I am calling on the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to do the same.”