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“Spread of horsemeat scandal serious cause for concern” Martina Anderson MEP

11 February, 2013 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Speaking in the aftermath of revelations that the horsemeat contamination has now been identified in 16 countries, Martina Anderson MEP said:

"With the revelations today that the horsemeat contamination scandal has now spread to a staggering 16 countries, the need for answers has become all the more pressing.

"What was last week a serious matter of dishonest and possible criminal actions within the food industry is today one of potential danger to human health. I am deeply concerned that it is being reported that 'bute', a drug used to treat horses which could be harmful to human health, is suspected to have been detected in the latest round of test samples. If the results, expected later this week, confirm the presence of this drug, it will raise serious questions around the risk to human health in the food chain.

"Even if the tests for 'bute' are not confirmed, the uncertainty surrounding the safety of the processed meat sector will continue in the absence of very strong scientific reassurances. The Findus lasagnes for example, some of which were found to contain 100% horsemeat, travelled through France, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Romania before they hit supermarket shelves. The complexity of this train of travel in itself creates additional problems in tracing the source or sources of how the horsemeat entered the food chain.

"While our domestic traceability system, tested last year by the EU and found to be robust, is second-to-none, it is disappointing that our local farmers are being betrayed by the unscrupulous actions of others in the European food chain. It is also concerning that a similarly robust traceability system is not in place throughout Europe.

"As the EU Food and Veterinary Office contact person on the Environment Committee, along with other committee members, I will be attending an Audit meeting in Dublin on 4th& 5th April.  I am also seeking an urgent meeting with the EU Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, to raise my concerns on this matter."

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