The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has stated that it is working closely with the Local Authority Veterinary Service, the HSE, An Garda Síochána and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland regarding the theft of a container with a consignment of beef carcases from a food business in Northern Ireland.
The authority is alerting food businesses of the risks involved and reminding food businesses of their legal obligation to only purchase meat from approved sources, having checked all appropriate documentation.
Similarly, the FSAI warns consumers not to purchase any meat sold from unregistered outlets or unregistered online sales.
Possible risk to public health
The alert arises following the theft of the hind-quarters from 36 carcases from the container.
The FSAI advises that there is a possible risk to public health if carcasses are not processed in an approved premises, in line with food safety and hygiene laws.
A further potential risk arises from the fact that some of the beef carcases came from animals over 30 months of age, so the vertebral column must be treated as specified risk material (SRM).
In a statement, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, said: “There is no way of knowing whether beef purchased from unregistered sources adhere to food safety requirements around cutting, storage and handling,”
“Proper cutting, storage and handling of beef at all times is a critical element in food safety management.”
“As such, we are urging food businesses and consumers alike to be vigilant against purchasing beef from unregistered sources at any time.”
The FSAI is asking businesses and consumers who notice any suspicious sales of meat to contact the FSAI at - email@example.com.