I am sure the Tánaiste will agree with me that people need to know what they are eating. He will also agree with me that the same standards should apply in terms of quality, the ingredients used and the make-up of meat products, no matter what is the price. People's right to food safety should not depend on how much they are able to spend on food.
I was concerned, when listening to or reading reported comments by Professor Alan O'Reilly about yesterday's revelations, that we need to look more closely at ingredients and what goes into this type of product. He was referring to what he termed food products at the lower end of the chain. This implies that we are not looking as closely as we should at such food products.
Yesterday's revelations about the presence of horse and pig DNA in a variety of meat products are truly shocking. Such revelations undermine the consumer's trust and confidence in products. As a result the authenticity of food products is called into question. The veracity of food labelling is now in doubt. The president of the IFA put it well this morning when he made the pertinent observation that the extraordinary rigour that now applies in the food supply chain to the primary producer does not appear to be applied at the processing end. He suggests that there is a weak link in the food supply chain.
I ask the Tánaiste to tell the House when the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine was first informed about the outcome of the tests undertaken by the Food Safety Authority. When was the Minister informed? Why did it take until yesterday for the public to be informed, given that the tests were carried out last November? Will the Tánaiste undertake to ensure the Minister takes private notice questions in the House today so that Deputies can hear a transparent presentation on this issue? Will the Tánaiste undertake to publish a full chronology of all the events that led up to yesterday from the outset and to publish all documentation exchanged among the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Food Safety Authority and the companies concerned? We need nothing less than 100% transparency on this issue.