0.76% incidence rate of Covid-19 in food processing facilities

There have been 78 cases of Covid-19 identified in food processing facilities since October 12.

In data provided to AgriLand by the HSE, it is shown that a 0.76% detection rate has been identified in these plants as of today (Thursday, October 29).

The second cycle of the serial testing of staff within food processing facilities commenced on October 12. In this cycle, 57 facilities have been tested to date, with a total of 10,197 tests completed.

The incidence rate in the first cycle was 0.41%. 

The HSE, on a nationwide basis, commenced a serial testing programme at large meat processing plants (with workforces of more than 50) on August 21. As part of this testing programme, it is testing approximately 80 meat production facilities nationwide on a four-week schedule, which is informed with guidance from HSE Public Health.

Funding dispute threatening butchers and small abattoirs resolved

Meanwhile, in other news, a dispute over the funding of food safety controls including veterinary inspection, which had threatened to shut 120 butchers and abattoirs at the end of next month, has been resolved, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

The dispute broke out between local authorities and the FSAI because the Local Authority Veterinary Service (LAVS) is due to finish at the end of November.

The nub of the issue, according to the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI), was a €1.2 million shortfall. Local authorities had sought funding of €7.8 million and were offered €6.6 million.

In a statement on the matter today (Thursday, October 29), the food safety authority said: “The FSAI and the Department of Health have worked very hard to resolve the issue with the local authorities.

“The FSAI is pleased to confirm that the County and City Management Association (CCMA) has agreed to continue to provide food safety controls in the small slaughterhouses and meat processing establishments under local authority supervision after November 30, 2020.”