Written Answers. - Food Hygiene Standards.

73.

asked the Minister for Health the arrangements in place in health boards for the monitoring of food hygiene standards generally; and whether there are facilities of a specified nature available for the accurate and scientific testing of such food and standards, comparable to internationally accepted norms in this area.

Food premises are subject to control by health boards under the food hygiene regulations and each health board operates an inspection and information programme to ensure that standards are maintained. Health boards have enforcement powers under the regulations and these are invoked as appropriate.

In addition each health board operates a food sampling and monitoring programme to ensure that foods reaching the consumer are fit for human consumption.

Laboratory facilities for the compositional and microbiological analysis and testing of foodstuffs are available through the regional public analysts and at public health laboratories. These facilities are of a high standard and compare favourably with the facilities available in laboratories providing a similar function in other countries.