SNP Member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has lodged an emergency Parliamentary Question with the European Commission in Brussels urging EU wide testing of pet food and animal feed after the Spanish authorities confirmed that dog DNA has indeed been found in pet food in Spain.

The revelation raises questions about all meat products, especially given the same-species implications of the ongoing Spanish investigation.

Alyn, a long term campaigner for compulsory origin labelling on all meat products (evidence below) has also reiterated his call for shorter food supply chains, compulsory origin labelling and for consumers to pay more attention to their food.  He has also expressed his fear that as “CSI style” molecular tests are rolled out across the continent there will be further revelations which will undermine consumer confidence unless clear action is taken now to reassure consumers that the authorities are examining everything they need to.

Alyn said:  

“We need to remember there is no proven risk to human health in all this, but anything that undermines confidence in the food supply chain is damaging, especially when Scotland’s farmers have been doing everything right and in Scotland we have a great story to tell.  We have the answer already, if you’re concerned about food, buy local and eat Scottish.

“However, across the continent we have allowed the European and international food supply chain to become too complex, and too opaque, and we need to get back to short local traceability.

“These revelations from Spain indicate just where I fear this may be going.  By the time meat becomes “protein” then traceability all but breaks down, especially in the pet and animal feed markets.  I’m concerned that given the EU-wide pet food market this contamination could be considerably more widespread.  The spectre of forced cannibalism turns this issue into something considerably more serious, and we need reassurance that this is an isolated incident of criminality, albeit it would seem on a pretty significant scale given the reported sourcing of 15 tonnes of dogs must take some organisation.

“Meantime I want to see the COOL regulations dusted off and introduced with greater urgency than we have seen to date.  This is an EU wide problem, and in some ways testament to the success of the single market and we need rules that are fit for purpose.  The SNP has long supported any moves towards local sourcing, short supply chains and maximum transparency, and we were right then and we’re right now.  There will be more troubling revelations on this difficult and stressful issue and we need to see urgent action from the authorities.

“I fear that with EU labs now operating at full capacity and product is subjected to a far higher degree of scrutiny by DNA testing than usual that we will see a rush of revelations which will cumulatively massively impact on consumer confidence.  We have a good story to tell in Scotland and we need to make sure that consumers have the highest confidence possible in Scottish produce.”

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