Labour MEP for Ireland South and Member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the European Parliament, Phil Prendergast, has raised safety concerns regarding the import of horsemeat from outside of the European Union.
Ms. Prendergast was speaking after a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on concerns for the food supply chain following the recent horsemeat scandal. Ms. Prendergast said “This scandal raises serious questions regarding the integrity of the European food supply chain.
“Virtually no horse entering the European food supply chain was bred for human consumption. This means that horses are not monitored in the same way as cattle or sheep or other animals, as they are presumed not to end up on the kitchen table.
“I would like to ask, for horsemeat entering the food supply chain originating in Europe, what protections are in place to ensure that this horsemeat complies with basic food safety standards?
“What monitoring and enforcement regime is in place to ensure that only horses with an appropriate medical treatment history are slaughtered?
“Furthermore, there appears to be a large loophole in relation to horsemeat originating from third countries as these horses often times do not have the equine passport requirement of European horses before being slaughtered for consumption.
“Does the Commission have plans to change its enforcement practices in relation to horsemeat entering the European Union from third countries?”, she asked.