EU Action on Mislabelling Must Include Retailers19 February 2013
IRELAND - The Irish Farmers Association has applauded the move by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and other Ministers for Agriculture, along with the EU Health Commissioner Antonio Borg, to root out the sources of the horse meat scandal.
IFA President John Bryan said that extensive testing at secondary processing level is the correct approach for re-building trust with consumers.
However, the IFA President said for any action at EU level to be effective, it will have to include tighter regulation of the retail food sector as part of a fundamental review of how the food chain operates.
“The retail sector, including food service operators and restaurants must implement clear labelling and ensure consumers have full traceability on all meat.”
In relation to retailers who are abusing their dominant position in the food chain, Mr Bryan said it is clear that the race to the bottom on prices has contributed to short-cuts being taken at secondary processing level. The consequences of retail pressure and practices such as below-cost selling have let consumers and primary producers down badly.
Mr Bryan said: “Retailers must ensure acceptable standards and quality are always maintained for consumers, and regulation must be urgently introduced by the Government and at EU level so producers are paid a fair price which reflects production costs and a reasonable margin."
Mr Bryan said it is now obvious there is serious mislabelling and fraudulent activity at secondary processing level in parts of the European food supply chain. This has been facilitated by inadequate traceability systems in the equine sector.
He said the regulatory authorities across Europe must take immediate steps to ensure that controls around the movement of horses are robust.
TheMeatSite News Desk