The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has confirmed to Agriland that its service contract with local authorities for the provision of veterinary services in small abattoirs has been further extended.
The current contract with councils will now run until the end of 2023.
It comes as long-running discussions are set to continue into the new year in relation to the proposed transfer of local authority veterinary inspectors to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
As part of the proposed changes veterinary inspectors would continue to enforce the same legislation in the premises that they currently supervise, but their employment would transfer to the department.
Officials from the DAFM, the County and City Management Association (CCMA), the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), veterinary inspectors and trade unions are involved in the talks.
In order to ensure that official controls on food safety are provided in small meat premises, including abattoirs, the FSAI has service contracts in place with local authorities across the country.
The regulatory body has said that it is essential there is a service contract in place to provide a legal basis for a local authority to enforce food law on behalf of the statutory body.
The current contract was extended twice this year already to allow more time for negotiations between the various stakeholders.
The contract had due to expire on December 31, 2022, but according to a spokesperson for FSAI this has now been extended until the end of 2023.
The spokesperson added that this latest extension would further facilitate the ongoing discussions.