Control system for fishery products in Ireland has ‘gaps’ - FVO

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

There have been six notifications in 2012–2013 for Irish fishery products
There have been six notifications in 2012–2013 for Irish fishery products

Related tags: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

The control system for fishery products In Ireland covers the production chain but is not always consistently applied, according to a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit.

It presents some gaps in registration/approval of cold stores, inspection of vessels, temperature recording devices, drafting and implementing food safety management systems based on HACCP principles and analyses of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).

The report describes an audit in Ireland from 6 to 16 May.

The objective was to assess whether the organisation of the Competent Authority and controls of fishery products is compliant with EU requirements.

It concluded that an official control system based on EU requirements and national legislation exists and all laboratories participating in official controls are accredited.

No guarantees of requirements

The control system does not give guarantees that all the requirements are met, said the FVO audit.

“In particular, the shortcomings noted during the audit concerning vessel inspection frequency, temperature controls, the implementation of procedures based on HACCP principles, non-compliant labelling procedures for frozen products, own-check programmes omitting certain contaminants, storage of ice and the serious deficiencies noted in one establishment raises concerns about the effectiveness of the current system.”

In response, the Competent Authorities of Ireland outlined a number of proposed actions.

“During Q4 of 2014 the establishment checklist will be reviewed and the HACCP section will be revised as necessary taking into account findings of the audit.  Specific findings in relation to HACCP will be communicated to all staff.”

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said it will conduct an audit of cold stores (Q3-Q4); to assess FBO controls in commercial cold stores involving on-site audits of commercial cold stores.

Around 296,000 tonnes of fishery products were landed in Ireland in 2012, mainly fresh fishery products. Almost 80% are pelagic species landed from Irish vessels - mackerel, herring, horse mackerel and blue whiting.

FSAI has a service contract agreement with SFPA to be the Competent Authority and implement and enforce national and EU legislation covering production and placing on the market of fish and fishery products.

Contamination incidents

There have been six notifications in 2012–2013 for Irish fishery products. Listeria monocytogenes was found in smoked salmon on four occasions and once in crab meat. The sixth concerned the presence of parasites in mackerel.

The Competent Authority takes samples for histamine, cadmium, mercury and lead, microbiological tests and parasites which the FVO took to be adequate but said there was no monitoring of PAH.

Responding, the authorities of Ireland said a cross agency meeting is planned between relevant stakeholders to discuss official control monitoring of PAHs with planned output to carry out a survey/sampling of relevant fishery products for PAH.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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