Informal meeting of Ministers from Member States directly affected by the mislabelling of processed meat products
As President of the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers, Simon Coveney chaired a meeting on 13 February 2013 with the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy and Ministers from Member States directly affected by the serious disclosures of mislabelling of processed meat products. The Minister said that, following the discovery in January by the FSAI meat authenticity survey of the presence of horse DNA in beef burgers, the issue had become a pan European problem as several other Member States subsequently found horse meat in a range of processed beef products. Minister Coveney pointed out that that the application of DNA testing technology had uncovered what appears to be a widespread fraud and mislabelling of certain processed products resulting in consumers being mislead.
In this context Minister Coveney welcomed a proposed recommendation from the Commissioner to introduce an EU-wide three month programme of control measures including random DNA testing of processed beef products in Member States and testing for horsemeat residues in slaughterhouses. The intention behind the programme is to publish the findings of the first month’s testing on 15th April following their presentation to the Commission. The results of this control programme would provide an evidence base for the possible consideration of further measures (News Item EU2013.ie, 13 February 2013).