Irish food industry 'vindicated' over horse DNA

Simon Coveney said his department was working to restore consumer confidence

The Minister for Agriculture has said that the Irish food industry has been vindicated after ingredients imported from Poland were confirmed as the source of the horse DNA found in burgers manufactured at the Silvercrest plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan.

Asked about the impact of the controversy on consumer confidence on RTÉ's This Week, Simon Coveney said he would not belittle this and the situation should not have happened.

He said his department was working with the ABP Food Group to try and reassure customers.

He said he had also been speaking to Tesco and Burger King about the situation.

Mr Coveney said he had secured a commitment from ABP to change the management at the Silvercrest plant.

He said all existing product there would be destroyed and there would be permanent supervision by the Department of Agriculture in the plant until consumer reassurance could be given.

It was confirmed that the results of testing into the source of horse DNA in burgers found that it came from ingredients imported from Poland.

Asked about initial suggestions earlier this month that products from the Netherlands and Spain were the source of the horse DNA contamination, Mr Coveney denied that he had pointed the finger at those countries.

He said in an initial Food Safety Authority of Ireland press statement it was stated that some of the foreign-sourced ingredients had tested positive for trace-elements of horse DNA.

He said the authority had acted appropriately at all times and had been absolutely transparent.