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Sack the Minister

When the Food Safety Authority of Ireland tested a range of Irish frozen beef burgers, purchased from Irish and British supermarkets, it found evidence that they contained horse meat and/or pig meat.

It found that the source of the offending meat was the respective manufacturer of the beef burger. In the case of Silvercrest Foods Ltd. almost 30% of one burger constituted horse meat.

These facts were sufficient evidence to prosecute the various manufacturers (and the retailers).

Prosecutions are necessary because of the overriding objective of securing the safety of consumer food in the EU. If you are a manufacturer it is easy to ensure the safety of the food produced in your factory; you make sure that your sources are safe.If you fail to do this you should be prosecuted.

Under EU law Ireland is obliged to prosecute for breaches of EU law and the known facts were evidence of breaches of EU law and Irish law. The person responsible for ensuring there are prosecutions is the Minister for Agriculture and Food. That means there will be no prosecutions because he has shown he does not agree with the law.

He thinks that negligence is insufficient to get a conviction or even to bring a prosecution. He implies that proving knowing and deliberate adulteration of food is what is required to bring a prosecution and get a conviction but this is not and should not, be the case.

His is the latest in a long line of Irish failures. Ireland is an extreme example of a noted problem; regulatory capture. When a regulated industry (such as banking) exerts sufficient influence, its regulator becomes its champion and defender instead of its regulator.

Here we go again.