The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has said that that a discovery was made this week of sheets of self adhesive labels with illicit health marks at M & N Meats Ltd, Corbrack, Ballybay, County Monaghan.

The FSAI's investigation follows information from the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland relating to its ongoing investigation of Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The FSAI, together with the inspectorate, has inspected premises known to have received products from Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd to validate the authenticity of the health marks. Inspectors have also searched the premises of D'Arcy Foods, Corbrack, Ballybay, County Monaghan and records have been removed from the premises for further examination.

The Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland had seized records from Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd and a number of premises in the Republic of Ireland had received consignments from there. The focus of its investigation is on repackaging, relabelling and distribution of meat and poultry.

The FSAI has issued directions to the inspectorate requiring inspections of the premises known to have received products from Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd. to validate the authenticity of the health marks. Any product found with illicit health marks will be detained and will be removed from the market. To date, one consignment of beef with suspect health marks has been detained and is being inspected.

As investigations continue, the FSAI is in contact with the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland and the European Commission so that Member States and any other countries can be alerted to possible suspect product having entered their country.

A health mark is an official mark stamped either directly on the surface of meat or on the label of packaged meat which indicates that the meat has undergone the correct inspection and is compliant with relevant food law. The health mark is a stamp that contains the country of origin and the official number of the slaughter or cutting plant.