Written answers

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Beef Imports

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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273. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the standards for beef products being imported here from both inside and outside the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29241/20]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The import of beef products from third countries is governed by a comprehensive and robust legislative framework laid down at EU level, controlled by Member States in the first instance, and audited by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, to ensure compliance with all of the relevant food safety standards.

The legislation imposes health and supervisory requirements designed to ensure that imported beef products meet standards equivalent to those required for production and trade between Member States. The third country of origin must be authorised for introduction of beef products into the EU and must have an approved residue plan. The establishment of origin must also be approved and authorised as an establishment from which beef products may be imported into the EU.

Import control procedures on beef products are highly prescriptive and take place at Border Control Posts operated by my Department. 100% of consignments are subjected to documentary and identity checks, and physical checks, including sampling of products, are carried out according to European regulations.

Primary responsibility under EU law for the safety and traceability of food placed on the market lies with food business operators. The role of National Competent Agencies is to verify compliance with this requirement. This is done via a combination of inspecting establishments and auditing the food safety management systems which operators have in place. These controls are applied at different stages in the food supply chain. Regulation (EC) No. 178 of 2002 sets out the general principles and requirements of EU food law and stipulates that food business operators must, at all stages of production, processing and distribution within their business, ensure food law requirements are satisfied.

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