UPDATE: Investigation continues at Kilkenny business at centre of horse meat probe
By COLIN BARTLEY
SEARCHES were continuing last night and investigations are ongoing at a county Kilkenny premises raided as part of a major investigation into the tampering of horse identification passports and microchips.
A multi-agency force is investigating if meat from horses that should not have reached the food chain was slaughtered and processed for human consumption.
A spokesperson for the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is heading up the nationwide investigation, last night said the search and evidence gathering are continuing.
Detectives involved in the raids said they do not believe any contaminated horse meat has made it into the Irish market.
In a statement, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine insisted it maintains a permanent presence of an official veterinarian and a technical team in each of the Department approved horse slaughter plants. The Department said it has no further comment at this time.
The dram unfolded yesterday after officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation launched a dawn raid on seven premises around the country, including one in county Kilkenny.
Earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture’s Special Investigations Unit was called to an abattoir in Kilkenny when multiple microchips were found on a number of horses.
In this latest nationwide raid, planned searches were carried out at seven locations in Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Westmeath and here in Kilkenny.
Officials from the Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and were assisted by members of the Criminal Assets Bureau, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau.
The task forces searched seven locations including a house, some commercial premises and farms.