Mick Wallace The #US and #EU are increasingly using #sanctions as a weapon against countries that don't bow to their financial i… https://t.co/qMbVI1XYfc
Mick Wallace How bad that the #EU of the so called 'European Values' has supported this Terrorism against the people of #Syriahttps://t.co/wRXMSubfYi
Mick Wallace Western Colonialism never really stopped, it just got a make over - It's now called 'Financial Imperialism'. Are we… https://t.co/KoMpQ69bBw
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: Would mean something for Irish people and the notion of 'Irish Neutrality' if Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs @simoncov
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine due to the recent instances of horse meat found in Irish burgers, his views that greater scrutiny of the food processing industry is needed as traceability seems to be adequate up until the point that the animal is slaughtered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. - Mick Wallace. For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 12th February, 2013.   REPLY Under EU law primary responsibility for the safety and traceability of food placed on the market place lies with food business operators. The role of my Department is to verify compliance by the food business operators with this requirement. This is done by a combination of inspection of establishments and by audit on the food safety management systems which operators are required to have in place. These controls are applied at different stages in the food supply chain. It is important to point out that the key controls carried out by my Department, under its contract with the FSAI, relate to food safety.   EU law provides for the free movement of goods between Member States. On that basis, meat and meat products produced in an establishment which is approved under the relevant EU regulation can be moved freely within the EU. As is the case with compliance with EU food safety regulations, responsibility for compliance with traceability requirements rests in the first instance with food business operators. Food business operators in Ireland are responsible for carrying out checks to ensure that their ingredients come from EU approved plants. They must also have a system in place to identify the source of inputs and destination of outputs (referred to as one step forward and one step back).   My Department has a permanent veterinary presence at all its approved slaughter plants. Controls at stand alone secondary processing plants are carried out at a frequency which is based on an annual risk assessment for each plant. Checks are also conducted at retail level by the HSE, working under the aegis of the FSAI which has an overarching supervisory role in relation to labelling matters.   An annual audit of imported products is carried out in each Department approved meat plant. The audit includes physical identity, labelling and documentary checks. This includes product originating both in EU Member States and third countries. In addition, labelling and documentary checks form part of the routine checks conducted by Department officials.   Under the Department’s National Residue Programme, and including tests on bovine samples carried out by processors, up to 30,000 samples taken at farm and factory level and covering a wide range of food stuffs are tested annually. These tests relate to microbiological and chemical standards, their primary focus being on food safety. These are fully in accordance with EU testing requirements.   In addition the Product Official Sampling and Testing (POST) programme is a microbiological testing programme on samples taken from Department approved ready-to-eat food, meat product, minced meat and meat preparation plants i.e. added value plants. This is part of the official verification of food safety controls in the plants concerned as provided for in Regulations (EC) 852/2004, 854/2004 and 2073/2005. A total of 1,600 samples are taken annually and the sampling and testing is risk based.   The focus of the Department and FSAI efforts in relation to current investigations has been on identifying the source of equine DNA in beef burgers, and ensuring that the corrective action necessary to prevent a recurrence is taken. DNA testing is not required under EU legislation and is not generally in use in relation to food production. It has however been deployed in recent times as part of the FSAI’s checks on food authenticity and food fraud control programmes. In that respect it is another new layer to our food production controls.   In the light of recent developments I have decided to request Irish manufacturers of processed meat products to carry out DNA testing and to work with the FSAI in developing testing protocols. I consider this a necessary step in order to provide further reassurance to Irish consumers and consumers of Irish food abroad about the authenticity of ingredients in our meat based products. Having regard to the close trading relationship between the Irish and UK food industries it is intended that the FSAI and the UK Food Standards Agency will work closely together and jointly agree an approach in this matter.   It is worth noting that it was because of the vigilance of our testing and control regime in Ireland that what is now a pan European problem, involving a range of meat products and traders/food business operators, was exposed. In that context I am raising the issue at EU level to consider the wider implications and whatever steps may be necessary at that level to comprehensively address this matter. That does not lessen the determination of my Department and FSAI to continue to work with the Gardaí to bring the enquiries here to a conclusion. I will continue to take whatever actions are necessary to ensure this issue is addressed in a comprehensive and effective manner.

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.

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