The Food Standards Agency has announced that Meat Hygiene Service auditors are to begin a series of visits to all licensed coldstores (red and white meat) in Northern Ireland.

The move is part of FSA Northern Ireland’s investigation into a meat coldstore operated by Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd, in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

The main focus will be on whether product bearing illicit health marks is present in any of those coldstores, the agency said.

“The ongoing Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd investigation has highlighted some possible issues around operation and supervision of coldstores in Northern Ireland,” said Dr Jon Bell, chief executive of the FSA.

“It is important that we do not wait until the investigation is complete before establishing whether the system is largely working well or whether there are more widespread grounds for concern,” he said. “This investigation may offer reassurance, or it may identify areas for remedial action. Either way, it is important that there is external scrutiny of the system and we identify any specific issues where action may need to be taken.”

Two teams of eight MHS auditors will visit all 37 licensed coldstores in Northern Ireland over five working days. The MHS will feed back to the Food Standards Agency on its findings and any areas identified for improvement or action in relation to the operation and supervision of coldstores in Northern Ireland.

Supervision of coldstores in Northern Ireland is undertaken by veterinary inspectors from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development acting on behalf of Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland.