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Agriculture, Food and the Marine | Applying good husbandry, production methods, and hygienic requirements in food exports and imports

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which good husbandry, production methods and hygienic requirements continue to be applied in respect of all food exports from this country and equally so in respect of imports; if he continues to be satisfied that all such provisions are being met in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The European Single Market is based on the concept of a single set of rules applying to the production of food, so that food placed on the European Market, be that within a Member State, traded between Member States, imported into the European Union, or exported from the European Union, meets the husbandry, production, and hygienic requirements necessary to protect food safety, animal and plant health, and animal welfare standards, within the European Union.

To ensure consistency in application of requirements rules are laid down in a series of European Regulations, delegated and implementing acts. European regulations apply directly in Member States. They place legal responsibilities on business operators that apply from the date of implementation laid down in the regulation.

They also confer legal responsibilities on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to carry official controls on all stages of production, processing, and distribution of food, to ensure food placed on the market in Ireland, traded to other Member States or exported to non-EU countries meets EU standards. DAFM fulfils these legal responsibilities under contract and oversight from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Measures are in place to deal with non-compliance where they are detected, including penalties and sanctions.  

Rules relating to the importation of live animals and plants, as well as food of plant and animal origin, into the EU, are laid down in European Regulation 2017/625. The purpose of these rules is to ensure that live animals, plants, and products of animal or plant origin meet the same husbandry, production method and hygienic requirements as apply to business operators operating within the EU.

To ensure live animals, plants, and products of animal or plant origin, being imported into the EU, meet EU requirements, such consignments must undergo checks at the border control post at the first point of arrival in the EU.

To ensure compliance with these requirements in Ireland, DAFM operates four border control posts at Dublin Airport, at Dublin Port, at Rosslare Port and Shannon Airport. At these BCPs, consignments undergo documentary, identity, and physical inspections to confirm they are in compliance with EU legislation. Consignments found not to comply with these requirements are rejected and are either destroyed or re-exported to the country of origin, in compliance with rules laid down in Regulation 625.

In 2022, DAFM carried out a total of just over 95,000 import controls across the four BCPs with just under 90% carried at Dublin Port. Reflecting the fact that most of the consignments came from GB, a country very familiar with EU standards, the overall levels of non-compliance were very low at just over 1%.

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