Written Answers. - Beef Exports.

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

56 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his Department has assessed or received a report on the recent discovery of illegal Irish meat as per reports in a newspaper (details supplied) in the UK; the measures in place to prevent such exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19021/03]

The newspaper report to which the Deputy refers related to an investigation undertaken by environmental health officers from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the UK. I understand that the quantity of meat of Irish origin referred to in this article and which was discovered as part of this investigation was not illegal. My Department's role in this matter was to check that the Irish meat in question had been produced under approved conditions and that it had been exported in accordance with the regulatory provisions. This was confirmed by my officials and conveyed to the UK authorities.

In this country when meat is deemed to be unfit for human consumption it is sprayed with indelible ink and cannot enter the food chain.