Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes
Following an audit at Peter Boddy slaughterhouse in Todmorden in North Yorkshire by the Food Standards Agency it was found that quantities of horsemeat had been sent to a business called Farmbox based at Tyn y Parc in Llandre near Aberystwyth.
FSA enforcement officers entered the Tyn y Parc premises on 12 February 2013 and found that horsemeat supplied by Peter Boddy was suspected of having been used in the production of food for human consumption. FSA officers have seized and detained meat at the site, as well as all paperwork necessary to investigate this further. Dyfed-Powys Police has been informed and are assisting the FSA with investigations and securing the site.
Clearly this is a matter of great public concern. Lead responsibility for food labelling and food safety in Wales sits with the Food Standard Agency. I immediately established close contact with the FSA and with ministerial colleagues in London. I spoke with the DEFRA Secretary of State, Owen Paterson MP, on 12 February 2013 and we agreed that we would work in close collaboration to support the investigation being led by the FSA and the police. I have also spoken with Hybu Cig Cymru and other stakeholders in the Welsh red meat supply chain. I spoke to Defra Minister of State, David Heath, on 13 February 2013 in a teleconference with major UK retailers and processors to discuss a range of matters in dealing with the continuing issues with reference to horsemeat in beef products. Since then I have maintained close liaison and I have spoken to the DEFRA Secretary of State, Owen Paterson MP and other food Ministers in the UK, this morning.
I believe that consumers should have confidence in our Welsh meat generally and in products specifically labelled PGI Welsh Beef. PGI Welsh Beef has been awarded the European Union’s Protected Geographical Indication status. This means that the whole of the supply chain meets the highest possible standards. In practice this means that only beef from cattle born and reared in Wales and slaughtered and processed in PGI-approved premises can be labelled as PGI Welsh Beef. It is a short supply chain. Abattoirs and processing facilities have to meet strict criteria before they can become PGI-accredited and all products are fully traceable.
All PGI Welsh Beef branded products are subject to rigoruous monitoring to maintain and underpin the highest quality and highest standards. I will seek to make an oral statement on this matter when the National Assembly reconvenes next Tuesday.