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Probe after angel dust is found on Irish farm

By Louise Hogan

Investigations are under way to trace the supplier of a significant quantity of angel dust found on an Irish farm, after tests at a meat processing plant detected the use of the illegal growth promoter.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) confirmed it is aware of the detection of the drug clenbuterol, after an animal processed for the food chain tested positive. The stimulant, used in the past by a small number of farmers, builds up muscle on average sized cattle, and has been banned throughout the EU.

The suspect animal had been sent for slaughtering at meat processor ABP's facility in Clones. All animals on the Co Monaghan farm where the animal originated have been put under restriction.

A number of searches have been carried out in the border region with a member of the Agriculture Department's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) allegedly assaulted last Monday in the Ballybay area of Monaghan.

The following day gardai and an SIU team search a property where they discovered what appeared to be a significant quantity of angel dust. It was removed for further analysis.

A spokesman for meat processor ABP confirmed it was informed there was a potential issue identified in a single animal processed at its Clones facility in mid-May. "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," he said.

A spokesman for the department said: "The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has concluded that there is no risk to public health from meat that is on the market."

Joe Healy, president of the Irish Farmers' Association, stated that the detection "highlights the stringent tests that are in place to protect the food chain from farm to fork".

Clenbuterol has long been banned in the EU for growth in food producing animals because of health concerns including increased heart rate and tremors.

Belfast Telegraph


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