Dáil Éireann - Volume 527 - 05 December, 2000
Written Answers. - Food Industry.
Mr. Callely Mr. Callely
90. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the level of inspections of poultry products to ensure consumer confidence in the quality and safety of poultry products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28365/00]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The vast majority of poultry produced in this country is slaughtered in EU approved premises under the control of my Department. All poultry is subject to ante and post-mortem inspection by officers of my Department. Processing, cutting, wrapping and dispatch of the product are also supervised by my officials. Poultrymeat samples are collected in all the slaughtering plants as part of a national monitoring programme and officially tested for residues and pathogens. In my view there is a considerable level of official control in place in regard to Irish poultry. Of course, there is a fundamental obligation on producers, processors, retailers and all others involved in the poultry industry to produce a safe product.
The legal requirements governing poultry production are set down in EU and national legislation. A small amount of Irish poultry is processed in premises under the control of local  authorities in accordance with the food hygiene regulations. The operation of these rules is objectively validated and endorsed from time to time by officials from outside agencies including the Food Safety Authority and the EU Commission.
A considerable quantity of poultry on sale here is imported. If it is coming from other EU countries the product has been produced and officially controlled in the manner I have already outlined for Irish product produced here in EU approved plants. Conditions are also stipulated for product imported from outside the European Union.
Sampling of some imported product is carried out by my officials and tested for pathogens and residues as with the national monitoring programme already mentioned.
A national salmonella monitoring programme is in place in regard to poultry flocks in co-operation with the industry. This involves sampling, testing, hygiene controls and the destruction of infected flocks where necessary.
Dáil Éireann 527 Written Answers. Food Industry.