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What meat import is most frequently rejected by Ireland?

New information from the Department of Agriculture shows that a low number of animal food items were rejected at Irish ports.

FIGURES FOR THE number of food imports of animal origin rejected from Ireland show that a very small proportion is turned away from our shores – but poultry is most often sent back.

Bernard Durkan TD asked Minister Simon Coveney in a parliamentary question about the issue. Minister Coveney replied that all consignments of products of animal origin imported into Ireland from outside the EU – other than from Andorra, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland – are checked at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) on arrival in Ireland.

There are two product BIPs in Ireland, at Dublin port and Shannon airport, operated by the Agriculture Department, which carry out three checks on imported products: documentary, identity and physical.


All consignments have a documentary and identity check and a proportion of products as laid down in legislation are subject to physical checks.

Other appropriate checks apply in cases where it is suspected that legislation has not been complied with or there is some other doubt about the consignment.

The figures show that in 2009, out of 809 total consignments – 557 poultry, 239 beef and 12 lamb – two poultry consignments were rejected and returned to their third country of origin.

In 2010, out of 682 consignments – 475 poultry, 196 beef and 11 lamb – two poultry consignments were rejected and returned to their country of origin and one beef consignment experienced the same treatment.

In 2011, out of 653 consignments – 550 poultry, 85 beef and 18 lamb – one poultry consignment was rejected and destroyed.

Finally, in 2012, out of 604 total consignments – 485 poultry, 109 beef and 10 lamb – two poultry consignments were rejected and returned to their country of origin.

Meat inspections

An annual audit of imported products is also carried out in each Department-approved meat plant, for product originating both in EU member states and third countries.

According to Minister Coveney, food business operators in Ireland are responsible for carrying out checks to ensure that their ingredients come from approved plants.

Figures released to Deputy Durkan show a drop in the number of compliance notices issued from 2009 – 2011:

  • 2009: 10, 144 inspections, 151 compliance notices issued
  • 2010: 8,924 inspections, 55 compliance notices
  • 2011: 7,189 inspections, 51 compliance notices issued

The release of the figure comes as the ‘horse meat’ scandal in Ireland continues to widen, with two new plants having identified beef products containing horse DNA. Minister Coveney is currently speaking to the Oireachtas on the issue.

Read: As horse meat scandal widens, Supermac’s says its burgers are 100% Irish>

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