Irish beef companies exhibiting at top food fair

Tuesday 29 January 2013 14.48
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Irish beef is being showcased at the prestigious Lyon food fair
Irish beef is being showcased at the prestigious Lyon food fair
Renowned Bocuse D'Or awards will take place during the show
Renowned Bocuse D'Or awards will take place during the show

Two Irish companies embroiled in the horse meat controversy are exhibiting at the leading European food service trade-show.

ABP Food Group and Liffey Meats are among a number of Irish companies meeting buyers at SIRHA, which takes place biannually in Lyon, the home of French gastronomy.

The renowned Bocuse D'Or awards, often referred to as "the culinary Olympics", will also take place during the show, which began on Saturday.

At least 24 national teams will compete alongside each other tomorrow to serve up two showcase dishes; one focused on meat and the other on fish.

This year Irish beef was selected as the meat ingredient for the Bocuse d'Or.

Bord Bia said this is "a prestigious honour ... which places the spotlight on the excellence of Irish quality assured, grass-fed beef to an audience of world class judges, distinguished chefs and the international media".

Earlier this month, an investigation by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found traces of horse DNA in burgers produced at the ABP-owned Silvercrest Foods plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, at the Liffey Meats facility in Co Cavan, and at one plant in the UK, Dalepak Hambleton.

On Saturday, the results of testing into the source of horse DNA found that it came from ingredients imported from Poland.

Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said he does not know when the Ballybay plant will reopen.

He said there is a great deal of "unhappiness" with what had happened, but that it was up to ABP to rebuild relationships with clients Tesco and Burger King.

Mr Coveney said the Department of Agriculture will have a permanent presence in the plant to reassure ABP's clients.

He expressed hope that all 140 jobs at the plant could be saved.

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