The official control system implemented by local authorities in the Republic of Ireland does not guarantee that all poultry sector establishments under their control meet all the relevant European Union requirements.

The claim was recently made after an audit by EU Food and Veterinary Office inspectors in September 2013. The auditors went on to say that, in the majority of establishments visited by the audit team and under local authority control, conditions did not meet the relevant EU requirement. Nevertheless, these establishments have maintained approval for their operations by the local authority concerned.

The country’s local authorities are responsible for official controls in 106 low-throughput establishments, while the Department for Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) is responsible for official controls in 78 high-throughput establishments. 

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The auditors further noted that DAFM has a comprehensive and well-documented food safety control system in place for poultry meat and poultry products, and this includes regular and risk-based supervision of establishments. However, the effectiveness of these controls is weakened by some deficiencies not detected during departmental controls and by inadequate post-mortem inspection in some cases. 

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland can guarantee the effectiveness of official controls in establishments supervised by DAFM. However, this is not the case in establishments supervised by the local authorities, the auditors said.