Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
234. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent on-going checks take place to ensure that all food imports are compliant with traceability, husbandry and processing standards applicable here and throughout the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40047/11]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The work to ensure compliance with the application of health and hygiene regulations within the remit of my Department is carried out by staff from the Veterinary Public Health and Agriculture Inspectorates who specialise in particular sectors of primary food production. They are supported in this work by Department laboratories through sampling and analyses of the products concerned. All compliance work is subject to regular audit by both the FSAI and the Food and Veterinary Office of the EU.
Regarding imported produce, consignments of food products of animal origin directly entering on to the territory of the EU must be the subject of a prior notification of import. My Department, in co-operation with Customs service, monitors and operates animal and public health controls at EU approved Border Inspection Posts (BIP) on all direct imports into Ireland coming from non-EU (or third) countries.
These are required to undergo veterinary examination at the BIP of entry to include documentary checks (100%), identity checks (100%) and physical checks ranging from 20% to 50% of consignments according to whether the consignment consists of meat or meat products. Consignments failing to comply with veterinary control checks may be detained for further examination and where non-compliance is established are returned to the exporting country or destroyed at the importers cost.
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