19 December 1997

Irish meat trade abuses would horrify public

BEEF carcasses from Ireland have been going to Continental Europe with the spinal column intact.

Loads of cattle heads have been exported, as has beef originally from South America. Irish horsemeat has also been delivered to the Paris market.

The cases are quoted by a long-distance lorry driver who used to work for an Irish haulage company. He asked not to be named, for fear of reprisals, but told FW that much of what went on in the Irish meat trade would horrify the public.

He quoted a return load from France of turkey trimmings which was delivered to a cold store near Dundalk. It was right next door to a meat processing plant, producing chicken curries for a major supermarket chain in Britain.

The driver also spoke of 120 loads of intervention beef coming out of an Irish cold store last Christmas to be exported to Russia. "It was 10 years old and absolutely black," he said.

A farmers son, he was speaking in support of farmers action against imports of cheap Irish beef, but said that enormous amounts of money were being wasted in Britain during the BSE crisis.

He told of regular trips at £1000 a time to take over 30-month scheme materials from an abattoir in Glasgow to cold stores near Inverness and Dingwall. "The beef was bagged and then crated in £25-a-time crates.

"The return load was the same sort of beef out of the cold store to a rendering plant near Glasgow. We ran on defrost all the way down, but the meat still had to be smashed out of the £25 crates when it arrived," he said. &#42