The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, welcomed the outcome of today’s meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCOFCAH), which further discussed the ongoing issue of the mislabelling of meat. Today’s meeting in Brussels was a follow-on to the meeting of Ministers and Commissioner Borg earlier this week, called by the Irish Presidency and chaired by Minister Simon Coveney.
At today’s SCOFCAH, experts from all Member States discussed the Commission’s proposals to test meat and meat products for the presence of horse DNA and to test for the presence of the illegal substance phenylbutazone. The Commission’s proposals received the support of the majority of Member States and were agreed by consensus.
Minister Coveney confirmed that Ireland strongly support the Commission’s proposals at today’s meeting. Mr Coveney said that today’s meeting was “another important step in restoring consumer confidence and is a direct result of the Irish Presidency’s initiative to convene the special meeting of Ministers on Wednesday.”
The SCOFCAH agreed that the testing of meat and meat products may commence immediately and will be co-funded by the Commission at a rate of 75 per cent for the first month. Results from the first round of tests, to be carried out by the end of March, will have to be reported to the Commission by 15th April.
Mr Coveney said that “this testing will contribute to a clearer understanding of the situation across Europe.” The Minister also confirmed that the issue will be discussed again at the Council of Agriculture Ministers, which he will chair, on 25th February.