Ferris proposes Food Bill to address horsemeat crisis
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD this morning moved a Bill to tighten up on regulations governing food traceability and labelling in response to the crisis caused by the discovery of horsemeat in food meant for human consumption.
Deputy Ferris outlined the reasons for the Bill during a statement he made in the Dáil this afternoon on the horsemeat crisis.
Deputy Ferris said;
“Earlier this morning I moved a bill to amend the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act in order to tighten up the whole area of food traceability and labelling, according to country of origin as well as ingredients.
“I would hope that when we put this forward as a Private Members Bill that it is allowed a second reading. I do not claim that the bill I moved covers all the issues and would welcome it being taken as a template by the Government and indeed all parties and Deputies here to address all of these issues as a matter of urgency as they clearly require.
“It is clear that unscrupulous processors and traders are taking advantage of lax regulations to pass off as Irish meat, including contaminated meat, sourced overseas. That represents an enormous threat to the integrity of the Irish food industry upon which depends so many jobs and farm livelihoods. So I would urge as a matter of urgency that the government adopt this bill as the basis for that legislation.
“One of the other issues that could be included is to place a statutory obligation on food producers and traders to report any contamination which they discover themselves. It is clear that in the case of QK Meats that they failed to initially report finding horse DNA as far back as last July. Had they done the current crisis might have been dealt with far sooner. We hope to bring this bill forward to the house soon.”