asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to Report No. (VI/5550/87 — EN — PVET/1538) regarding The Survival of Classical Swine Fever Virus in Pigmeat Products, a report of a sub-group of the Scientific Veterinary Committee of the EC Commission; the subsequent action, if any, he will take together with the other swine fever free countries, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Luxembourg.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Swine Fever.
The report referred to confirms the Department's view that classical swine fever virus can survive in uncooked lightly cured pigmeat products. At a recent Council of Ministers meeting the Minister, Deputy O'Kennedy, urged the EC Commission to act upon the report with a view to affording adequate protection to those member states which are free from swine fever. My UK and Danish collegues did likewise. I understand that the Commission will shortly be presenting an appropriate proposal to the Council to deal with the situation.
Is the Minister aware that bacon is being imported and retailed here from countries other than those listed by him, countries that have not been declared clear of classical swine fever virus?
The Department are quite unhappy about the present position. They have brought the matter to the attention of the Commission and are strongly pressing for a derogation for uncooked and lightly cooked products so that the same rules will apply to them as apply to live animals.
When will the Commission's proposal be available?
It is expected that a decision will be taken on 26 May when the general swine fever control and eradication arrangements are due to be discussed again. It is hoped a decision will be reached on that date.
Have the Department identified the amount of imports from the non-listed areas as a proportion of total imports?
I do not have that information but I will make it available to the Deputy.
In view of the serious consequences of an outbreak of classical swine fever here is the Minister satisfied that the proposals being considered in Brussels will be sufficient to protect our industry? Is the Minister satisfied that there is no possibility of an outbreak of swine fever?
I should like to assure the Deputy that every precaution is being taken. The Government, in particular the Minister for Agriculture and Food, are pressing for a full derogation in view of the risk as a result of the importation of lightly cooked meats. We are hoping for a positive decision at the meeting on 28 May.