Food products placed on the European marketplace are covered by a range of legislation designed to ensure that products supplied to consumers are of the highest safety standards. My Department plays a part in the enforcement of this legislation along with Competent Authorities in other Member States, other Irish Government departments and State Agencies such as the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Health Service Executive.
The import of products of animal origin 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 products meet standards equivalent to those required for production and trade between Member States.
Veterinary checks are carried out by staff from my Department on consignments of foods of animal origin imported from third countries at designated Border Inspection Posts. All such consignments are documentary and identity checked and physical checks, including sampling of products, are carried out according to European regulations. Import control procedures on products of animal and fish origin are highly prescriptive and are strictly audited by the Directorate to ensure compliance. Inspection finding reports are published on the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety’s website.