Consumers have been warned not to purchase any meat sold from unregistered outlets or unregistered online sales by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

In a statement, the authority said that it is working closely with the Local Authority Veterinary Service, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), An Garda Síochána and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland regarding the theft of a container with a consignment of beef carcasses from a Northern Ireland food business.

“The FSAI is alerting food businesses of the risks involved and reminding food businesses of their legal obligation to only purchase meat from approved sources, having checked all appropriate documentation,” the statement said.

“Similarly, the FSAI warns consumers not to purchase any meat sold from unregistered outlets or unregistered online sales.

The alert arises following the theft of the hind quarters from 36 carcasses from the container. The FSAI advises that there is a possible risk to public health if carcasses are not processed in an approved premises, in line with food safety and hygiene laws.

It was highlighted that a further potential risk arises from the fact that some of the beef carcases came from animals over 30 months-of-age, so the vertebral column must be treated as specified risk material (SRM).

Dr. Pamela Byrne, chief executive of the FSAI, warned: “There is no way of knowing whether beef purchased from unregistered sources adheres to food safety requirements around cutting, storage and handling.

“Proper cutting, storage and handling of beef at all times is a critical element in food safety management.

As such, we are urging food businesses and consumers alike to be vigilant against purchasing beef from unregistered sources at any time.

The FSAI is asking businesses and consumers who notice any suspicious sales of meat to contact the FSAI at: [email protected].