The Implications of the Horse Meat Scandal 2013 from a Predominantly Irish Perspective
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The horse meat scandal emerged as one of the most shocking revelations regarding the agri-food industry in 2013. Initially thought of as just an Irish problem, it soon became clear that the issue was much more widespread than that and encompassed many countries within the EU. Concerns first centred on questions of food safety considering that equine DNA was adulterating beef products and the source of this equine DNA was unknown. It emerged that fraudulent practises regarding labelling of meat products was at the heart of the problem and subsequent questions focused on culpability and weaknesses in the system that could allow such a scandal to happen. Apart from the health issues surrounding phenylbutazone, consumer confidence in the EU food industry was rocked at the discovery of the extent of the food fraud and companies implicated suffered major losses as a result. Thus, the major implications from both an Irish and European perspective were threefold, implications for health and safety of consumers, implications for the relevant authorities responsible for ensuring compliance with EU food law in and implications for the reputation of the industry.