Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has sought assurances from the Agriculture Minister after the discovery of the illegal growth-promoting drug clenbuterol, or ‘angel dust’, in an animal just south of the border with the Republic of Ireland.
Mr Swann, who sits on Stormont’s Agriculture Committee, said the discovery of angel dust, which promotes leaner muscle growth in cattle, is deeply disturbing and the vast majority of farmers will be angered at what they see as wholly self-centred actions which risk the integrity of the local meat industry.
He added: “Immediately after the discovery came to light I contacted the DAERA Minister here in Northern Ireland to ask what steps she has taken to ensure that beef from the Republic of Ireland that may have been fed with clenbuterol, otherwise known as angel dust, had not entered the Northern Ireland food chain.
“Whilst so far it appears to be an isolated case, we can take nothing for granted.
“I am glad that the Republic’s inspection and traceability system appears to have worked in this case and it sends a strong message to those farmers who may be considering taking risks that they will be caught and will have to face the consequences.
“It is now essential that all those behind this case, and any others that may be related to it, are identified and reprimanded. Northern Ireland’s produce is world-renowned for its quality and traceability and we must therefore robustly tackle anything that could impact upon that essential reputation.”