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Martina Anderson MEP addresses horsemeat issue in EU Parliament

12 March, 2013 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Speaking this morning in the European Parliament on the horsemeat scandal Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson stated:

“The Commission has stated that regardless of the legislation in place there will always be criminals seeking to cheat the system in the pursuit of cheap profit.

“Doubtless, this is true but it does not mean that as regulators that we allow it to continue unabated.  We have a responsibility to make any criminal activity, especially in the food supply chain, as difficult as possible to do.

“Although the EU claims to have one of the most developed traceability systems in the world, it is clearly not 100% fit for purpose in the processing sector.

“The Report that the Commissioner is bringing forward should deal with both mandatory country and region of origin labelling systems for meat products, including frozen or processed meals. Such a process would ensure that there was a stronger onus on supermarkets to take responsibility for their supply chain.

“We need to take full account of the specific characteristics of the Member States, thereby allowing beef from regions such as the north or Ireland identify as Irish if producers so wish, or Scottish beef to retain its 'Scottish' label which would aid traceability in general and help prevent scandals like this from recurring.

“As Food & Veterinary Office (FVO) contact person for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, I look forward to participating in a number of meetings of the FVO which are scheduled to take place in Grange, Ireland and of course the horsemeat contamination issue will be top of our agenda.”

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