Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Department of Agriculture and Food
Question 317: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the number of trained auxiliaries in meat plants are adequate to requirements and if anticipated savings have occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47193/10]
Slaughterhouses and meat processing plants operate under the approval of my Department in accordance with the terms of EU Regulations which are collectively known as the 'Hygiene Package'. These plants are supervised by veterinary inspectors employed by the Department, assisted in their duties by technical staff and by temporary veterinary inspectors (TVIs) drawn from private practice on a rota basis.
Recommendations arising from a Value for Money (VFM) review relating to the use of the services of TVIs in slaughter plants under the supervision of the Department, along with recommendations arising from other reviews relating to the optimum deployment of the national veterinary public health inspectorate, are being taken into account in revised arrangements for controlling meat plants.
In this context, while it is intended that the use of auxiliaries as recommended by the VFM review will be introduced in certain areas, initially on a pilot basis, a number of issues remain to be addressed. Supplementary training will be required to allow technical staff to carry out post-mortem meat inspection, except in relation to poultry meat (as the Department has already assigned some post mortem inspection duties to technical staff working in poultry processing establishments). In addition, such a reassignment will require consultation with the representatives of the technical staff concerned and the TVIs.