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Chief Vet to confirm status of Irish beef at EU meeting

The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Paddy Rogan, will confirm to his EU colleagues tomorrow that Irish beef is safe and can continue to be traded normally on both domestic and export markets. Mr Rogan is in Brussels to attend a meeting of European Union CVOs tomorrow, Wednesday, 10 December.

Mr Rogan referred to results from tests on 11 farms which were released today. These are the first results from 45 beef farms which have been placed under the control of the Department as they were associated with the potentially contaminated animal feed. "The results of these tests have given the all-clear to eight of the 11 farms", said Mr Rogan. "The remaining three herds did test positive for non-dioxin like PCBs but at levels that do not pose a threat to human health." Mr Rogan said that nevertheless the animals on these farms will be slaughtered and taken out of the food and feed chain. No product from these herds will be released onto the market. Mr Rogan also noted that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had concluded that there is no requirement for a consumer level recall of Irish beef from the market.

The CVO said that Irish cattle were primarily fed on grass and cattle farmers rely on purchased feed to a much lesser extent than pig farmers. As a result, the risk of contamination was much less, and therefore the results were not a surprise.

Mr Rogan also emphasised that Ireland has an effective cattle monitoring and traceability system which tracks cattle on over 100,000 Irish farms. "Ireland's high standards of food safety and international reputation for quality food will not be put at risk, and therefore we will continue to act on a precautionary basis in relation to all aspects of this matter", Mr. Rogan said.

Date Released: 09 December 2008