Legal proceedings are still being considered against a Carrick on Suir based horse meat processing facility, which was found to have been mislabelling horse meat as beef.
Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, told the Dail, last week, that: “B&F Meats was found to be involved in mislabelling of a limited quantity of horse meat for export to the Czech Republic. While the company claims that no fraudulent intent was involved the placing of a false label on a product and the question of instituting legal proceedings in the respect remains under consideration.”
The detailed report ‘Equine DNA and mislabelling of processed beef investigation’ was presented to the Dail last Thursday.
It reports that B&F Meats, a small plant approved to debone beef and horse meat, was despatching some horse meat to a single customer in the Czech Republic via a UK trader. It was labelled in the Czech language which, when translated, referred to beef.
The department immediately suspended all operations at the plant and served a legal notice on the company and the plant was included in the Special Investigation Unit and Garda investigation.
This investigation concluded that the company was complicit in mislabelling a product that was 100% horse meat while placing a label on the product that referred to beef.
The company claim there was no fraud because the company was supplying horse meat to a company that had ordered horse meat and they were receiving payment for horse meat. While the meat in question carried a description for beef both the trader and eventual customer were fully aware and had requested the use of the particular improper label, according to the report.
The Department is of the view that B&F Meats “deliberately put a false label on a product... this was clearly part of an attempt by them or someone else to mislead a customers further down the food chain.”
Following the company’s compliance with the legal notice it resumed deboning on February 28.