Thursday, 17 December 2015
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
238. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 120 of 19 November 2015, if he has successfully raised the issue of strict new limits imposed on cadmium levels for live crab intended for export to China with the authorities in China; the level of dialogue which has taken place with the Chinese authorities; if the Chinese authorities have indicated that these new measures will be withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45723/15]
Further to my reply to the Deputy’s question on 19 November 2015, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) issued a formal response to the communication from the Chinese authorities on Friday 27 November and circulated a copy of the response to representatives of the Irish live crab export industry. The SFPA response, inter alia, puts forward Ireland’s views on the suitability of the European testing requirements for live crab and includes a comprehensive technical report on the matter compiled by relevant technical and scientific experts in the SFPA and the Marine Institute. In addition, the SFPA has offered to facilitate further dialogue with the Chinese import authorities in keeping with the Memorandum of Understanding I referred to in my reply of 19 November, and has invited the Chinese authorities to visit Ireland in 2016 to examine our official control systems, laboratories and crab production establishments.
I acknowledge the concerns live crab exporters have at this time and I note that the SFPA has provided regular updates to industry representatives on the matter. I remain satisfied that the procedures which are in place for monitoring the safety of Irish seafood, including live crab, meet the stringent European standards and consumers can continue to have high confidence in the quality of Irish seafood.