Speaking on Tuesday 16th June, Dan Neville TD, Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party said

“Ireland’s BSE controls are effective and consistent with legal requirements and best international practice. These standards are recognised by the OIE and are the basis for which Irish beef is exported to over 60 countries around the world. It is testament to these controls, that this suspect BSE case was identified, demonstrable proof that our food safety controls work and that we have an open and transparent system.”

“Thanks to Ireland’s BSE controls, which include the enhanced feed ban, comprehensive surveillance programmes and the removal and disposal of specified risk material, BSE cases are extremely rare. Ireland continues to be officially recognised as a “controlled risk BSE country” and has been recently upgraded to a country with “negligible risk” i.e. the highest standard.”

“As with every beef producing country, it was to be expected that an isolated case of BSE can happen from time to time. To put it in context, there are over 6 million cattle in Ireland.”

“As part of the regulatory controls for food safety there is a state veterinary presence in every meat plant and this vet conducts an ante mortem inspection on every animal presented for slaughter. In addition and on a precautionary basis, all specified risk material must be removed from all animals slaughtered and this is also verified by the State Veterinarian present in the plant.”

“In the suspected case identified last week, the animal did not enter a slaughter premises, but was sent to a disposal centre for destruction. No part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.”

“As a country which exports over 90% of the beef we produce, we know that our reputation as a producer of safe sustainable beef is paramount and our regulatory and food safety systems are there to provide those assurances. The discovery of this case is evidence of the strength of the controls and surveillance system we have in place.”

“I have been informed by the Minister for Agriculture that the Department is conducting a full epidemiological investigation in accordance with standard procedures.”