North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley has said the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson must step up his efforts to protect the United Kingdom red meat industry from imports contaminated with horsemeat.
Mr Paisley was speaking after a meeting between Owen Paterson and retailers on Saturday.
“Despite this crisis developing over a number of weeks, our industry is still waiting for decisive action from DEFRA to ensure the United Kingdom red meat industry is protected,” he said.
“Our industry is understandably asking how the French government was able to impose a ban on United Kingdom meat following BSE yet our Government appears to be doing nothing to protect the United Kingdom from the import of falsely labelled product.
“The DEFRA Minister should come to the House of Commons and explain to our industry what sanctions are being taken, if any, against countries who have been complicit in this scandal.”
The DUP MP said it was vital that all authorities across the United Kingdom coordinate to ensure that our agri-food industry is protected.
“We have complete traceability for any meat produced on local farms and consumers can have full confidence in any beef in their butcher’s shop or beef which bears the Farm Quality Assured logo.
“The source of any imported material which has entered the United Kingdom must be identified and issues resolved whether it be France, the Republic of Ireland or some other country.
“Consumer confidence in food is absolutely vital.
“Hopefully this issue will cause people to seek out local produce which is produced to the very highest standards of quality and safety. Local consumers can put their trust in local produce.”