Investigation launched as ‘angel dust’ found in beef

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it has launched an investigation after a sample taken from a beef animal tested positive for angel dust.

It confirmed that an animal, which was processed through Larry Goodman-owned ABP meat plant in Clones, Monaghan, tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, otherwise known as angel dust.

The Department also confirmed that it has placed all animals on the farm under restriction pending the completion of the investigation.

“The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is fully aware of the case and has concluded that there is no risk to public health from meat that is on the market,” a spokesperson for the Department said.

According to The Sunday Times the animal in question came from a Co. Monaghan farm and was one of a number which were sold to the factory. However, whether the other cattle had angel dust in their system remains unknown. It is understood that the Department of Agriculture’s Special Investigations Unit raided the farm last week and seized a large quantity of the drug.

An ABP spokesperson confirmed that as part of its on-farm testing and residue controls programme, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has identified an irregularity on a farm in the Cavan/Meath/Monaghan area.

“Earlier this week, ABP was informed by the Department of a potential issue with a single animal processed at its Clones facility in mid-May from the farm.

“In situations like this with limited details of the issue, ABP will take guidance and direction from the relevant authorities who have informed the company that there was not a  food safety risk associated with meat from this animal.

“Any issues in relation to on-farm checks and residue controls are a matter for the Department of Agriculture.”

Angel dust is the common name for clenbuterol, a steroid which promotes leaner muscle growth.

The test was carried out under the national residues control plan, which the Department uses to randomly sample meat entering the food chain for banned substances.

While the number of animals that tested positive for residues was down in 2014, 13 animals tested positive for the potential use of growth promoters in the year.

The figures released by the Department of Agriculture for 2014 – the most up to date full year figures – show that 13 bovine and farm game samples tested positive for the substance, Thiouracil, which may indicate the potential use of growth promoters covered by the EU Hormone Ban.

Some 0.22% of animals in 2014 tested positive under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP), figures from the Department show.