Startling revelations on DNA testing of pig meat in Irish butchers

Eilis Sheehy

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This week I was shocked to hear of the startling revelations surrounding pig meat in Ireland. On Monday the IFA’s National Pigs and Pigmeat Committee Chairman said the latest DNA results showed that nearly one-third of samples tested in butcher shops around the country were not Irish and the misleading of consumers remains a serious issue. Pat O’Flaherty said previous DNA testing of pig meat in Irish butchers revealed that over 50% of the products sampled from the butchers concerned were not assigned to the Irish boar database.

Pig meat by Thornypup/Flickr
Pig meat by Thornypup/Flickr

In December, butchers were tested in Cavan, Wexford, Galway and Cork to ascertain their levels of Irish product and of the ninety one products sampled, twenty six were not assigned to the database and of the twenty six non-Irish products, twenty five originated in independent butcher’s shops. Pat O’Flaherty said another major cause for concern is the fact that there were a number of stores stocking imported loin chops and of the twenty six products that were not Irish, 40% were loin chops and 44% were back rashers.

 

St Georges Market Belfast by William Murphy/Flickr
St Georges Market Belfast by William Murphy/Flickr

If it weren’t for the IFA’s investigations, it seems that us as Irish consumers would continue to be fooled. It’s scary to think that we are being misled, thinking that we are buying meat which a lot of the time is being is passed off as Irish. In his interview (above), the IFA’s Pat O’ Flaherty pin points the reason why we are buying meat that we think is Irish which often isn’t the case. Another disturbing finding, in my opinion is that Mr O’ Flaherty says that some butchers know that the meat isn’t Irish, while on the other hand, some are fooled, just like the consumer. I think the onus is on our butchers to take responsibility for the meat they sell, they have a duty to let us as consumers know what exactly we are buying. Even when it comes to pre-packed foods, the IFA’s research has found that big brand names in this country are also selling meat which isn’t Irish even though it says differently on the pack. I fully agree that the Bord Bia label should be put on all Irish meat that is 100% Irish, it seems to be the only solution to this problem which is now at crisis point.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Mairead McGuinness said that last week in the European Palirament she voted for the introduction of country of origin labelling of meat in processed foods. This method is used with beef so why should it be any different when it comes to other types of meat products? Mairead McGuinness said that country of origin labelling will soon be applied to all fresh meats but this process won’t happen overnight.

 

 

 

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Eilis Sheehy