Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
155. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when and the means by which the Dutch authorities contacted his Department in relation to the discovery of PCBs in pork fat samples; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9083/09]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): On the evening of December 5th 2008 an official from the Dutch food safety authority phoned an official in my Department seeking information on contents of my Department’s Press Release which had been issued the previous day. The Press Release indicated the detection of marker PCBs in pork fat samples.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The agreement concluded with pig processors in December involved making available a facility of €180 million from the public finances to assist processors in funding the recall and destruction of certain pork products from the market and product in storage. As a result of that agreement, processing plants were able to resume operations within a week.
To date, a total of €37.16m has been paid to processors as interim payments. Funding is also being provided to pay for relevant verification, rendering and destruction services. In addition, ex gratia payments are being made to those pig producers whose animals are being destroyed as a result of the dioxin incident. None of these herds is located in Co. Limerick.
In the context of general initiatives to assist the sector, Teagasc has prepared a development strategy for the Irish pig industry, which identifies the issues facing the sector and makes certain recommendations. The ‘Pig Industry Strategy Steering Group’, which includes representation from my Department and all sectors of the industry, has been established for the purpose of furthering those recommendations. This group will identify, prioritise and promote actions needed to ensure a viable sustainable future for the pig sector.
Bord Bia is also very active in promoting the sector. Following on from the dioxin issue, the Bord plans a number of relevant marketing and promotion initiatives. On the Irish market a series of promotional campaigns are planned. These commenced this month and focus on building awareness and loyalty to the Bord Bia Quality Mark. These will underline the quality of Irish pigmeat and will communicate its origin.
A trade communications programme designed to position the capability of the Irish pigmeat sector and the safety and quality measures in place to influence key decision makers in the retail, food service and manufacturing sectors and
A programme to maximise international market access for Irish pigmeat products. This will involve communications activities designed to build confidence among national authorities and opinion formers in markets based around Ireland’s health controls.
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