Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Department of Health and Children

Food Labelling

12:00 pm

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick West, Fianna Fail)
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Question 130: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the level of enforcement measures taken, and the number of prosecutions taken, in 2009 to curb foreign origin meat products being labelled and sold in the domestic market as product with an Irish origin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44010/09]

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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Responsibility for the enforcement of labelling legislation rests with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and its official agents, which include the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Local Authorities.

44,000 HSE inspections are planned for 2009. Inspection and food surveillance reports are submitted to the FSAI every six months. For the first six months of 2009, there were 4,092 inspections where compliance with country of origin of beef regulations was assessed and of these, 1,272 were found to be non-compliant. In these cases, Environmental Health Officers took follow-up action, such as return visits and letters of warning, to ensure compliance. No prosecutions took place during this period.

Local Authority Veterinary Inspectors carry out inspections in 451 small meat plants, slaughterhouses and coldstores. From January to September 2009 a total of 10,261 hygiene inspections have been carried out by the Local Authority Veterinary Inspectors. Labelling inspections are carried out as part of the hygiene inspections of food businesses. There have been 9 cases of non-compliance under hygiene regulations so far this year and no cases of non-compliance under country of origin legislation.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food conducts labelling checks as part of the routine official checks at meat plants where there is a permanent presence of DAFF Veterinary or technical staff. Checks are conducted on a random, risk based frequency and cover labelling, traceability/origin, identification of cattle, labelling of carcasses, meat, mince meat, meat products. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food does not compile separate statistics for labelling checks.


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