Written Answers. - Beef Quality Assurance.

Ivor Callely

Question:

178 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he has satisfied himself with the certification process for meat to be placed on the market for sale; the safety measures in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5199/00]

The certification of meat is governed by EU and national legislation designed to ensure high standards of hygiene and guarantee the safety of the product for the consumer. Meat placed for sale on the market is derived from animals slaughtered in either export approved plants or domestic abattoirs. Meat produced in export approved plants and licensed domestic abattoirs slaughtering over 1,500 livestock annually is certified by veterinary officials of my Department. Meat produced in the smaller domestic abattoirs is certified by local authority veterinary officers.

The operation of export approved plants and domestic abattoirs is governed by the Abattoirs Act, 1988 (Veterinary Examination) Regulations, 1992, as amended and the European Communities (Fresh Meat) Regulations, 1997. Production of minced meat, meat preparations and meat products is governed by the European Communities (Meat Products and Other Products of Animal Origin) Regulations, 1995, and the European Communities (Minced Meat and Meat Preparations) Regulations, 1996. This legislation provides for the type and extent of control in the various plants and I am satisfied that the measures in place within the plants controlled by my Department are being effectively applied.