safefood hosts seminar on illegal use of growth promoters

7 March, 2005. Representatives from the veterinary enforcement and laboratory sections of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture and Food in the Republic of Ireland will meet tomorrow (9th-10th March) in Fermanagh to discuss best practice in preventing and detecting illegal hormone abuse throughout the island of Ireland.

Funded by safefood, the Food Safety Promotion Board, the seminar will allow experts to share information on recent developments in the skills of those using illegal steroid hormones and the problems faced in stamping out this abuse.

Martin Higgins, Chief Executive, safefood feels the timing of this seminar is appropriate: “Despite the fact that hormone growth promoters have been banned for almost 20 years, there is evidence from across Europe of their abuse. In order to protect and reassure consumers and legitimate meat producers and comply with European legislation, we must be vigilant and continue to review this increasingly sophisticated use of illegal hormones.

In addition to funding this seminar, safefood has recently commissioned a joint research project between researchers at the Veterinary Science Division in Belfast and The National Food Centre, Dublin to develop rapid and sensitive screening detection methods for traces of illegal hormones in any suspect animals. Both institutions are recognised as leaders in such research and it is anticipated that the safefood project will result in the ability to detect the production of different or low levels of hormones.

Ends

For further information please contact

Sharon Murphy or Nora Lawton   
WHPR     
Tel: 01 6690030     
(087) 6081316 (Sharon)
(086) 8292493 (Nora)

Fiona Gilligan/Adrienne Gibson
safefood
Tel: (01) 448 0600