Dáil Éireann - Volume 487 - 11 February, 1998

Written Answers. - Beef Quality.

88. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food his views on the workings of the beef quality assurance scheme; when this scheme will commence; whether the cost will be carried by the herd owner; whether an appeal system exists; the individual or body which is part of such an appeals procedure; and whether legal aid will be available to those who feel aggrieved on this procedure. [3574/98]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): The national beef assurance scheme has three main elements. These are the development of transparent and integrated production and processing protocols — standards — applicable to all parties in the food chain, i.e. producers, processors, livestock marts and animal feed compounders; the enforcement of these protocols through a registration and approval process; and a bovine animal identification and tracing system.

It is intended to phase in the scheme gradually over the coming months. Capital and other start-up costs will be borne by the State. Running costs will be shared by the State and by the industry. The registration and approval process will include an appeals procedure, the precise details of which are being finalised.