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Over 200 tonnes of unfit or illegal meat and food products seized at Irish ports since 2016

The meat was seized after failing to meet standards for import into Ireland.

Image: Shutterstock/Mark Agnor

THE GOVERNMENT SEIZED over 200 tonnes of so-called ‘rejected and illegal’ animal products at Irish ports and airports between 2016 and 2018, according to new figures.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that more than 68 tonnes of animal products were seized last year, with a further 108 tonnes seized in 2017 and 38 tonnes seized in 2016.

The products were seized after veterinary officials at Irish ports and airports decided that they did not meet the standard to allow them to enter the country.

Consignments can be refused for a number of reasons, including if a veterinarian decides that they could present a risk to health if they were imported into Ireland.

When such a rejection happens, sections of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine must be informed immediately to enable an alert message to be sent to notify other border inspection posts in the area.

The Department can then issue a notice to the importer that the products will be seized and destroyed, if an official vet is of the opinion that the product is likely to present a danger to animal or human health.

Consignments may also be refused entry if a veterinarian rules that they lack proper certification, that they do not meet the right conditions, or if they have already been rejected in another EU country.

In this case, the Department may agree with the person responsible for the consignment to re-dispatch it to a third country, or simply to destroy the products.

Figures released by the Department show that the government spent over €43,000 on handling and disposing imported products of animal origin in the last three years.

The highest cost came in 2018, when €17,691 was spent, followed by 2017 (€13,691) and 2016 (€11,067).

With reporting from Ken Foxe.

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