ICMSA say latest development in burger controversy proves that regulation at processing level must be tightened up.
Commenting on the latest development in burger controversy, the ICMSA President, John Comer, said that it is essential that regulators get to the bottom of this issue as soon as possible, locate and confirm the source of this material, and take whatever action is necessary – both legal and otherwise – to prevent this happening again. Mr Comer said the controversy is creating huge and justifiable anger amongst Irish farmers: “Farmers are fed up at having their sector undermined and a tightening of regulation is absolutely essential to prevent a repeat of this controversy”, said the ICMSA President.
“Farmers believe that our system of regulation is hopelessly lop-sided with a massive presence and inspection regime right out to the farm gate through which the animals leave. All products leaving the farm are tested and farmers are heavily penalised if any issue arise but it appears that this has not happened further up the chain. At that stage, the regulatory and supervision system reduces, and it continues to be reduced all the way through the massive supermarket retailers and then out to the consumer. The weight of regulation has always rested on the farmer and, while ICMSA is happy to accept that, the present situation has confirmed what many farmers have always suspected: the only link in the chain that’s properly monitored is the farmer and it is ironic therefore to note that it is the farmer who gets the smallest margin of the final retail price”, stated Mr Comer.
“When, finally, the Department is able to pronounce definitively that the problem has been removed from our system, farmers are entitled to hope that something of the official attention that has been directed towards them for decades might now usefully be turned to others who seem to have been free to source – and add – ingredients that should have been picked up by our inspection and regulatory system. Indeed, as a major exporter of beef, one would have to question why Ireland is importing any beef products at all and a clear system of traceability will have to be imposed on imports”, concluded Mr Comer.
Ends 5 February 2013.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office