Written Answers. - Salmonella Outbreak.

Ceist:

20 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the new measures, if any, his Department has taken to ensure that another salmonella outbreak, similar to that in Counties Meath, Cavan and Louth in February 2000, is not repeated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9679/00]

The salmonella outbreak to which the Deputy refers occurred in a non-export plant under the control of the relevant health board.

A salmonella control programme has for some time been in operation at EU export approved pigmeat plants which are under the control of my Department. This programme provides for a categorisation of pig farms on the basis of salmonella test results and the handling of pigs at plants according to the category.

The existing programme is operated on the basis of a voluntary code agreed between producers, processors and the Department. Discussions are almost complete on a further enhancement of the programme which will include extending it to plants which are not controlled by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.