Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (554)

Clare Daly


554. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which organic status can be awarded to salmon farms in view of the fact that his attention has not been drawn to the type of chemicals being used by the operators to control disease. [26677/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The organic status of operators in Ireland is certified by rigorous on-going assessment undertaken on behalf of my Department by designated Organic Control Bodies. My Department is the Competent Authority under EU regulations but has delegated the certification function to independent Organic Control Bodies, in accordance with the relevant EU regulations and in common with the practice in many other countries across the EU. The Organic Control Bodies in question act under formal service agreements with my Department and are themselves subject to audit by my Department, by INAB (the Irish National Accreditation Board) and by the various EU audit authorities.

The Organic Control Bodies implement audit procedures for the certification of organic operators to the regulatory requirements of Council Regulation 834 of 2007 and to the detailed rules in respect of organic aquaculture as set down in Commission Regulation 710/2009. Article 25 of that Regulation provides for the use and control of allopathic treatments which are deemed permissible.

All fish farms are required to have a veterinary health plan in place. This health plan is checked at the annual inspection of each organic operator by their respective Organic Control Body. Furthermore, any veterinary treatments required by fish farms must be approved in advance by the relevant Organic Control Body and a copy of a veterinary prescription must be submitted with each request. Detailed records must be maintained by the organic operator and are verified by the relevant Organic Control Body at inspection stage. All cleaning and disinfection substances are noted at inspection stage by the relevant Organic Control Body who verify that they are in compliance with organic regulations.