Thursday, 18 February 2021

Questions (325)

John McGuinness


325. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on providing a DNA system of traceability for the beef sector; if he has examined the cost of such a system and the positive impact it might have on the price of beef, the efforts to eliminate meat fraud and cattle smuggling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9230/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am satisfied that the national bovine herd already has a robust traceability system. My Department's Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system is a database which records and maintains the identification and movement data in respect of cattle and other livestock in accordance with the requirements of EU and national law.

AIM consists of a comprehensive web-based database of the origin, identity, movements and life history of all cattle born in or imported into the country. AIM receives movement information from livestock marts, live export points and slaughter plants, ensuring the prompt recording of all movements of cattle to and from these premises. The origin, identity, movements and life history of animal(s) consigned to marts, slaughter plants and live export assembly centres are checked against the database before it is permitted to be consigned for movement to another holding, to enter the food chain or export.

I am not aware of a detailed proposal for a DNA traceability system as referenced by the Deputy, or the costs that might be associated with such a system which would add to the cost of beef production.