DUBLIN Feb 22 Ireland's agriculture department
has suspended production at a small meat plant after it said on
Friday that it discovered the plant had sent horse meat to the
Czech Republic incorrectly labelled as beef.
Europe's horse meat scandal, which has prompted product
withdrawals, consumer concerns and government investigations,
erupted last month after tests carried out in Ireland on beef
products supplied to the likes of Tesco.
Irish producers and investigators have blamed Poland for raw
materials that saw as much as 75 percent horse DNA included in
its products - a charge Polish food safety agencies deny - but
the department said the latest find was down to mislabelling.
"I am seriously concerned about this development and the
Gardai (police) have been fully appraised of this development
and are working closely with my department," agriculture
minister Simon Coveney said in a statement.
"The issue here is one of mislabelling and that will be the
focus of the investigation."
B&F Meats, a southern Irish plant that debones beef and
horsemeat and dispatches it via a UK-based trader, had sent some
horsemeat to a single customer using a Czech label that, when
translated, referred to beef, the department said.
Ireland, which holds the EU presidency, called a meeting of
European ministers earlier this month that proposed increased
DNA testing to assess the scale of a scandal.
Coveney said he has arranged a special debate in Brussels on
Monday during a meeting of Europe's Council of Agriculture and
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Jason Webb)