LARNE butchers have reported an upturn in trade as a spin-off from the ongoing horse meat scandal.
The scandal was sparked last month when Irish authorities discovered the presence of horse meat in some burgers sold by a number of supermarket chains.
It was also found in branded and supermarket own-brand ready meals including lasagne and spaghetti bolognese.
One trader said he feels that it could mean customers returning to the town centre to shop for meat.
Dominic Watt said: “This could create more atmosphere in the local high street with more people back in the shops supporting local traders you can trust.
“People can eat healthily, eat safely and with confidence from their local butcher’s.”
Riverdale butcher John Thompson acknowledged that some shoppers may feel a “bit scared” but he said he felt that the horse meat scandal would “help us big time”.
“It will make people more aware of traceability. Local butchers can offer that service. I feel it will help our business. Last weekend had improved. People may spend to get what they were not getting elsewhere.”
Dunluce Street butcher Ian McKeen acknowledged that some shoppers may “hold back” but he offered an assurance saying: “Health and safety take no chances. The only thing we bring in is Danish bacon. If people ask, we can given them that reassurance.
“All our meat has traceability. It can be traced to the source. It is is all local stuff.”
Hugh Hodge added: “Any beef that comes in is all documented – where it was born and reared and slaughtered.
“If anyone wants to see sausages being made, they are quite welcome to come and watch the process.”
Nancy Mulholland, a customer of McKeen’s, told the Times: “I never buy meat from a supermarket because I do not know where it comes from, as it does not say on the packaging. I prefer to buy Northern Ireland meat.”
Main Street butcher Owen Donnelly reported that business had been “a bit better”, especially the purchase of mince and burgers.
He also noted a number of new customers.
“I have definitely found a difference. I have had some people in who I have never seen before,” he commented.
“It is unfortunate that you have to get extra business through something like this.”
Mr. Donnelly went on to say that the meat sold in his shop is “Northern Ireland farm quality assured”. He suggested that if the supermarkets involved in the crisis had listed horse meat among ingredients on the labels of the products involved, then there may not have been “so much fuss about it. There is no way we could get our hands on something like that,” he added.
Irish food processors are now being asked to carry out DNA testing on their products and to work alongside the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.