Sunday, January 20, 2013

20/1/2013: Minister for Reform thinks... out loud...


In the week when  it was revealed that ca 2 months after first detecting contamination in beef samples taken at retail levels, and after a 5 days delay between confirmation of the contamination receipts and notification of the retailers and the public of the event, the Irish food safety standards are, apprently, beyond reproach.

Read and laugh: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2013/0117/breaking28.html

But in case this disappears into the domain of password protected archive, here are few quotes from the duo of the Irish Times journalists (might one assume that it took two journalists to write this up, as whilst one was laughing beyond her/his control, the other one was typing, and that these duties were rotated as required):

"Ireland has the best oversight system in the world for food production, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has insisted in the Dáil in the ongoing controversy over the discovery of horse meat in a beefburger. He was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who questioned why Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney was only told on Monday of the findings of tests carried out on burger meat in November and again in December, both of which proved positive for horse meat content. Mr 
Martin asked the Minister if he believed it was acceptable that Mr Coveney was only told three days ago. Department of Agriculture officials were informed on December 21st."


The Irish Times references the timeline of the events as follows: Department of Agriculture was notified of the contamination on December 21st. Minister for Agriculture was notified on January 14th. FSAI received confirmed re-test results from Germany of January 11th. What the Irish Times article does not state (it simply falls outside the questions raised by Micheal Martin, TD) is that the public and the retailers were notified of contamination only on January 16th. 

And to all of this, Minister for 'Reforms' had only one thing to answer: 

"Mr Howlin said... there had been criticism of Ireland, but the traces were only found because of Ireland's very high standard of oversight for food production, the best in the world I would say."

Err, and of course he then proceeded to accuse the UK of not having same high standards of testing as Ireland does.

Per other report (here), "Minister Howlin said that he believes Ireland has a high standard of oversight of food production, “the best, I would say, in the world”. He reiterated that this is not a public health issue and said it it is an issue that doesn’t relate to food safety, but relates to food standards."

Err, and of course he then proceeded to accuse the UK of not having same high standards of testing as Ireland does. So we now have a Minister for Reforms who thinks that 

  1. food standards are unrelated to food safety, and 
  2. that a system that allowed potentially contaminated meat to remain on supermarket shelves and continue flowing into the retail chain since December 2012 through mid-January 2013 is 'the best... in the world'.
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