Thursday, 23 November 1972
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Lands (Mr. S. Flanagan) (for the Minister for Health): I would refer the Deputy to a reply given on the 15th June, 1972, by my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries to a question relating to this matter in which he indicated that the contamination of meat with salmonella organisms can constitute a danger to human health but went on to point out that, fortunately, the salmonella organisms are readily destroyed by cooking.
The food hygiene advisory committee in its report which was published in December last pointed out that in view of the widespread distribution of micro-organisms in animals and animal products which are potential causes of diseases in humans, it felt it necessary to examine the question and it made certain recommendations. The relevant recommendations affecting the functions of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries are being examined by his Department. In so far as my Department is concerned I would like to mention that I caused, in agreement with the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, a special letter to be issued on 10th April, 1972, to all health boards dealing in detail with the hygienic requirements necessary to meet such involvement as those boards had in relation to slaughterhouses.
Mr. Governey: Is the Minister aware of a statement issued recently in the local Press by Dr. J. Hannon who is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and Professor of Clinical Veterinary Practices at Trinity College? In 1966 a survey showed that 47 per cent of all the food eaten by families in Ireland is meat or meat products. Is the Minister satisfied that his Department have taken adequate action to ensure that food poisoning by salmonella is drawn to the attention of the public?
Mr. S. Flanagan: I am not aware that the speech referred to by the Deputy has been officially noted by the Minister. The Department of Agriculture  and Fisheries, the Department of Education and the Department of Health have a responsibility in this matter. As I said, the recommendations of the food hygiene advisory committee last December are being examined by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and particularly by the veterinary staff. I do not think I can add anything more except that I will have the Deputy's remarks with regard to the speech brought to the Minister's attention.
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