Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (874)

Matt Carthy

Question:

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]

View answer

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: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/ba4aa0-letters-from-the-cmo-to-the-minister-for-health/#august-december-2020