Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (874)

Matt Carthy


874. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health the details of all NPHET recommendations conveyed to him in respect of meat processing plants and the food processing industry since 1 October 2020; the actions undertaken by his Department on foot of each of these recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7057/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In August, following the emergence of clusters in Meat Processing Plants in the midlands, NPHET made a series of recommendations to support the affected workplaces and for the protection of vulnerable groups.

This included the establishment by the HSE of a National Standing Oversight Committee on COVID-19 to maintain an ongoing review of the impact of COVID-19 in high risk industries. This Committee has representation from the agencies involved in outbreak oversight in the affected industries, as well as representation from the relevant industries.

The HSE has undertaken a number of measures, including:

- National guidance on the management of outbreaks was first developed in May 2020 and has been updated twice since then.

- Meat plants which have current outbreaks receive Public Health advice on management of the outbreak from their local HSE Dept of Public Health

- Translated information on Covid 19 is available from the HSE. Translators are used as required during HSE contact tracing.

- HSE serial testing of staff in meat plants is on a four-weekly cycle.

- DAFM is assisting the HSE with an evaluation of rapid antigen testing in a small number of meat processing plants comparing the results of rapid antigen testing with PCR testing.

The letters detailing the NPHET recommendations are available at: