Mislabelled meat products: towards a European coordinated response
Mr Simon Coveney, Irish Minister
for Agriculture, Food and the Marine
© European Union 2013
At an informal meeting held in Brussels on 13 February 2013, ministers from the most affected member states exchanged views and shared information on the recently discovered mislabelling of processed beef products containing horsemeat. Mr Simon Coveney, the Irish agriculture minister presiding over the meeting, welcomed a recommendation to investigate other possible similar mislabelling.
During the meeting, ministers took stock of the situation, including in terms of identifying the point in the supply chain where the problem occurred. The identification of all steps in the supply chain has been made easier by the traceability rules in place for food in the EU. As this mislabelling has implications for many EU countries, ministers agreed that an EU-wide coordinated response was required. In this regard competent national control authorities will cooperate closely to investigate the origin of the mislabelling.
Minister Coveney welcomed a draft recommendation from the Commission for an EU-wide testing programme, which would include random DNA testing of processed beef products to detect the potential presence of horsemeat. The details of this recommendation will be discussed at a special meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on Friday 15 February.
Another discussion on this issue is to take place at the meeting of EU agriculture ministers on 25 February.