Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Food Processing.

asked the Minister for Health if he will state what steps are taken in the food processing industry for both the home and export market to ensure that proper standards of cleanliness, hygienic handling and processing of the foods and products used in these industries are observed.

The Food Hygiene Regulations, 1950, which are enforced by local health authorities, require that adequate precautions be taken to prevent the contamination of food intended for sale for human consumption at all stages of its manufacture and distribution. Such precautions include the maintenance of hygienic conditions in food premises and the observance of hygienic standards by food handlers. In particular the regulations provide for the compulsory registration of various categories of food premises (including those engaged in the preparation and manufacture of food). Before such registration is granted the appropriate health authority must be satisfied that the statutory requirements are adequately complied with. I am satisfied that these regulations provide a suitable basis for the achievement of hygienic conditions in food premises.

Certain types of premises, e.g., those based on live-stock and dairy products, are exempt from the main provisions of the Food Hygiene Regulations. Such premises are subject to statutory supervision by the Minister for Agriculture.

Is it not true that corresponding regulations are made and enforced by the Minister for Agriculture to ensure that the highest standards of hygiene are maintained in such factory premises not coming directly under the control of the Minister for Health?

That is right.