Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions (176)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

176. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he continues to be satisfied that labelling and traceability regulations applicable throughout the European Union in respect of product originating within the Union or outside continue to be observed in the spirit and the letter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14436/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Food production and labelling rules in the European Union operate in accordance with harmonised rules and member states controls are subject to audit and supervision by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the EU.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) under the aegis the Minister for Health has overall responsibility for the enforcement of food safety and labelling requirements in Ireland. It carries out this remit through service contracts with my Department and other agencies including the Health Service Executive (HSE), Local Authority Veterinary Service and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. Inspections to ensure compliance with labelling legislation are carried out by a variety of inspection services provided by these agencies under the aforementioned contracts.

Under current EU regulations, origin labelling is only mandatory for fresh beef. However, new implementing rules on country of origin labelling for fresh, chilled and frozen sheep, goat, pig and poultry meat were adopted by the European Commission in December 2013. These new rules will apply from 1 April 2015.

In relation to traceability, EU Food Hygiene Regulations stipulate, among other things, that there should be 'one up, one down' traceability at each point along the food chain and I am satisfied that food business operators in this country generally meet that standard.

Question No. 177 answered with Question No. 166.