MII responds to postponement of meat plant Covid-19 testing

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has responded to the decision to postpone Covid-19 testing in meat plants, saying that the low level of positive cases turned up from Covid-19 testing “facilitates” a change in priorities for health authorities.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) took the decision this week to postpone testing at meat plants, apparently on a temporary basis, because of “the increased capacity needed at the moment to deal with people with symptoms”.

In a statement this morning, MII said: “Results to-date from Covid-19 serial testing being carried out across all primary and secondary meat processing facilities in the country are very encouraging and show an extremely low incidence of positive cases.

Results so far from 15,153 tests nationwide found 42 positive cases, or 0.28% overall.

“This demonstrates that the comprehensive protocols and mitigation measures in place in processing facilities across the country are working. No other industrial work setting has had such a comprehensive screening test programme in place,” a MII spokesperson claimed.

“At this point, food processing facilities in the three counties that were restricted [Offaly, Laois and Kildare] have been tested weekly for the last three weeks and a full round of nationwide testing in meat processing facilities has been undertaken in the last week,” the spokesperson noted.

We understand that a decision by the HSE to pause the screening programme has been taken in order to release capacity… Clearly, the low level of detection of positives in the screening at meat plants facilitates this change in HSE priorities.

“We will continue to be guided by the public health authorities as regards appropriate testing approaches and stand ready to facilitate further testing at any time,” the spokesperson concluded.