THE FOOD Safety Authority (FSA) has concluded an investigation after horses with forged passports were slaughtered for meat at a county Limerick abattoir.
It has been confirmed that meat from two Irish horses which had been exported to Italy had to be recalled after officials discovered that the animals had forged documentation.
The horses had been slaughtered at Ashgrove Meats in Newcastle West, one of only five facilities in Ireland licensed to kill horses for meat.
A spokesperson for the FSA said that the red flag was raised after a routine paperwork inspection by local authority veterinarians noticed irregularities in two horse passports, which were analysed and found to have been forged.
Under regulations, all horses slaughtered for meat in Ireland have to have a verifiable passport to ensure that they have not been in contact with substances which may be harmful to humans.
The spokesperson said that the FSA then contacted each of the five facilities which slaughter horses in Ireland, and after each searched through its records it was discovered the animals had been processed at Ashgrove Meats.
At that point the carcasses, which were on their way to Italy for consumption, were recalled before they could enter the market place.
The FSA spokesperson said that it does not believe any further investigation into the incident is necessary, and that the situation at Ashgrove Meats and the four other horse slaughtering facilities is being monitored in line with standard procedures.
A spokesperson for the Limerick County Council veterinary section said that matter, which came to light in a report in The Sunday Times this week, was referred to the FSA which then carried out its own investigation.
A spokesperson for Ashgrove Meats said that it operates its food safety protocols in “a very rigorous manner”, and that the company had fully co-operated with the FSA with its investigation into this matter.