Bord Bia is confident that the identification of a suspected BSE case in Co. Louth today will not adversely impact on the reputation of Irish beef among its European and international customer base.

It says this is an isolated case and is clear evidence that Ireland’s rigorous animal health and food safety controls continue to operate effectively.

Bord Bia do say that the suspected case is unfortunate, coming after the recent decision of the OIE to award Ireland ‘negligible risk status’.

However, it says Ireland retains its ‘controlled risk status’ under which it has, and continues to, trade successfully in Europe and internationally.

It is this ‘control risk status’ that has also enabled Ireland to achieve access to the US, Japan and to secure the recent lifting of the beef ban in China, it says.

Bord Bia says it will nevertheless continue to monitor any reaction overseas and remain in close contact with both exporters and customers through our international office network.

Following the announcement by the Department of Agriculture of a suspected BSE case in county Louth, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said the priority now is to investigate how this happened.

Speaking on RTE radio this afternoon he said no animal can die in Ireland without being tested and checked for BSE.

“We now want to understand how this might have happened.”

Speaking to RTE on the News at One show the Minister said since the emergence of this case he has made contact with key trade parties to let them know what happened.

He added that this is an important issue because of Ireland’s reputation as a beef exporter and he will move to reassure countries who import Irish beef.

Minister Coveney said a full investigation is under way to understand what happened and that all other animals feeding on the same feed as this animal will be tested.