MII: Processors continuing to prioritise safety of staff and suppliers

The safety and well-being of staff, suppliers and service providers continues to be prioritised by meat processors across the country as the current Covid-19 situation continues, according to Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

In a statement to AgriLand, the meat industry representative body highlighted that its members “continue to prioritise the safety and well-being of staff, farmer suppliers and service providers at meat processing facilities throughout the country”.

Response teams

“Across the 45 major processing sites operating in Ireland, clusters have been identified and those sites are fully engaged with the HSE [Health Service Executive], and strictly following their advice and direction,” MII stressed.

Any incident of a positive Covid-19 case has immediate follow-up with the HSE at local level, the industry group added.

“At national level, Meat Industry Ireland is engaged with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and in turn the HSE, to explore what further actions or measures are recommended by the authorities.

Every meat processing site has a Covid-19 response team in place to manage implementation of enhanced safety measures and communications with staff and HSE.

“Meat plants have implemented protective measures in line with best international practice,” the representative body highlighted.

“MII’s members are committed to implementing any further measures deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of staff.

“Meat processing was designated as an essential service by Government in order to provide continuity of food supply in the domestic, European, and international food supply chain.”

Throughput

Turning to production, MII noted that, overall, there is capacity in the system.

“Beef throughput – which has been running at approximately 25,000 head per week in recent weeks – is down about 20% on the same weeks last year.

This is a result of market conditions and the loss of the food service channel rather than any processing capacity issues.

“Pig throughput may be down a bit in recent weeks but is up overall for the year and current capacity is coming back up to normal.

“Sheep throughput, by and large has been unaffected, and year to date is up almost 7%,” MII concluded.