Food Safety, Public Health and Consumer Issues
From Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Last updated on
From Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Last updated on
Protecting the safety of Irish food and the interests of consumers is at the core of agri-food industry in Ireland. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine employs over 1,600 people in the areas of food safety and quality control.
However, we cannot do it all. Use the information and services explained below to understand how you can contribute.
The European Community's food and feed hygiene legislation (the Hygiene Package) came into effect across all Member States from 01 January 2006. The Hygiene Package revises and consolidates legislation in relation to:
The Hygiene Package was transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Food and Feed Hygiene) Regulations 2009, S.I. 432 of 2009 and more recently revised in 2020 (S.I. 22 of 2020).
Since January 2006, the department has been carrying out inspections of all existing and new meat establishments for approval under the Hygiene Package (as provided for in S.I. 22 of 2020). The list of establishments approved under S.I. 22 of 2020 are below.
Meat Establishments (incorporating Fish, Egg & Dairy Establishments) Approved / Registered by the Department under S.I. 22 of 2020
Milk and Dairy establishments approved and/or registered under the Hygiene Regulations
Registered Establishments for the Supply of Raw Milk by a Primary Producer for Direct Human Consumption, to Retailers and/or Direct to Final Consumers
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) engages Private Veterinary Practitioners (PVPs) to support DAFM Veterinary Inspectors in the provision of meat inspection services at DAFM approved slaughter plants, pursuant to the provisions of the Conditions of Engagement (Revised April 2019) and its incorporated Standard Operating Procedures. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine invites applications for approval for engagement as Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs) in respect of approved DAFM meat plants.
The closing date is Friday 16 September 2022 at 5pm
Applications to: TVICALL2022@agriculture.gov.ie
Call 2022 for Engagement of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors Information Note, as amended 24.08.2022
Call 2022 for Engagement of Temporary Veterinary Inspectors Application Form, as amended 24.08.2022
Food safety controls on meat in Ireland are regulated by a number of measures commonly referred to as the 'Hygiene Package'. Under the Hygiene Package the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is entitled to carry out inspections of all meat establishments for hygiene approval.
The Hygiene Package regulates the following areas:
Application Form to Registration as a FBO (Food Business Operator) Meat/ Cold Store Establishment
Form to be completed under Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs to Registration as a Food Business Operator and for Approval of an Activity(ies) at a Meat Processing / Cold Store Establishment
Derogation on Temperature Conditions Application Form
Application form for authorisation to exercise derogation on temperature conditions in transport of meat
Milk Hygiene - Approval and Inspection Service
Milk Hygiene section and Dairy Controls and Certification Division implement EU and national legislation to approve and supervise food business operators involved in the production of milk and milk based products. Controls are implemented to verify that legal standards of quality and safety for human consumption are maintained from production at farm level, through to manufacturing and storage.
Dairy Controls and Certification Division staff are authorised under the relevant legislation and carry out monitoring and enforcement measures, including inspections, audits and product sampling, to verify compliance with legislation. The control programmes also provide for the certification of dairy products for export to Third Country markets.
Further details on the registration/approval process, including application forms and information pack for Dairy Establishments are available from:
Amendment Form for a Dairy Food Business Operation (FBO)
Application form for a Dairy Food Business Operation (FBO)
Application for registration as an FBO and/or Approval of a Milk Pasteurising Establishment
Controls to ensure that Irish Milk and Dairy Products are free from Antibiotics/Hormones
Under S.I. 22 of 2020 (giving effect to EU Regulation 625/2017 Chapter VI) , a levy is payable on all milk purchased for processing. The levy is intended to cover the cost of the department’s inspection regime within the dairy sector. Obligation under this legislation applies to all Food Business Operators registered in the Republic of Ireland.
From the 1st January 2021 the first 30 tonnes of milk acquired by the Food Business Operator will be charged at €1. This payment is applicable only once, for the first 30 tonnes acquired by the Food Business Operator from 1st January 2021. Thereafter, for the lifetime of this legislation each further tonne will be charged at 50 cent as stipulated in EU Regulation 625/2017, Annex IV .
|1st 30 tonnes from 01/01/21||€1.00|
|Every tonne thereafter||€0.50 per tonne|
|CONVERSION RATE*: 1 tonne = 971.164 litres *( Central Statistics Office 2020)|
Dairy Official Controls Regulation Fee & Bovine Disease Levy Information Note March 2023
Further information on Official Controls Regulation Fee can be obtained from:
This webpage provides information on animal feedingstuffs including the legislation governing the manufacture, distribution and use of animal feedingstuffs in Ireland.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is the Competent Authority responsible for the transposition and implementation of European Union legislation on animal feedingstuffs. Within DAFM, the Feedingstuffs, Fertiliser, Grain and Poultry Division (FFGPD) develop policy on animal feed, manage the negotiation, transposition and enforcement of feed legislation and carry out official controls along the feed chain.
The primary role of DAFM is to verify that animal feed and feeding practices do not constitute a hazard to human or animal health or to the environment. DAFM carry out a comprehensive programme of risk based controls including inspections and sampling of feedingstuffs at all stages along the feed chain, including importation, storage, manufacture, trade and use at farm level. DAFM also perform checks on feed labelling to ensure that stockowners and pet owners are informed about the quality of the feed.
The attention of visitors is drawn to the acknowledgements and disclaimer notice on this page.
A variety of rules about food labelling must be followed in Ireland. Learn more about these below.
In October of 2019 the four major chemistry laboratories within the DAFM laboratory complex were amalgamated into what is now the Food Chemistry division. The laboratories within this division operate as monitoring laboratories for the analysis of pesticide and veterinary residues in food, the composition of dairy products, contaminants and chemical elements in food and also the analysis of plant protection and biocidal products.
The laboratories implement the monitoring program for residues in food, compositional analysis, contaminants and chemical elements and pesticide formulated products in compliance with EU legislation. The Food Chemistry Division consists of four laboratories with different functions:
The Pesticide Residues laboratory analyses samples of fruit, vegetables, cereals, food of animal origin including animal fat, milk and other dairy products, honey, infant and follow on formula and processed foods (including wine, juices, tinned foods and oils) as well as organic produce.
Routine sampling of fruit and vegetables is biased in favour of food commodities that are of greater dietary importance. In excess of 800 samples of domestic and imported fruit and vegetables are taken annually. Baby food, fruit and vegetable juices as well as wine fall under this category.
Random samples of bovine, porcine, ovine, poultry, equine and cervine fat samples are taken at a range of meat processing plants around the country. Dairy, eggs and honey produce are sampled at production plants or points of assembly.
Currently, the sampling programme is confined to the sampling and analysis of grain used in the milling, malting and breakfast cereal industries. Cereals and cereal products of both domestic and imported origin are sampled on a random basis at point of assembly or storage.
Approximately 60 samples of infant and follow on formula are analysed annually for approximately 460 pesticides and their metabolites.
The function of the Pesticide Formulations laboratory is to monitor the quality of plant protection and biocidal products placed on the Irish market. These products are registered for use with a particular specification and the Formulations Laboratory checks that the products on the market comply with this specification.
The primary role of The Veterinary Residues Laboratory (VRL) is to provide expertise and laboratory analysis for the chemical analysis of animal and farm samples for the detection of residues of veterinary medicinal products, e.g. antibiotics, banned substances such as growth promoters, and contaminants such as heavy metals. The work supports DAFM’s responsibilities in relation to the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) under Council Directive (EC) 96/23. The VRL is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for several residues groups in accordance with Commission Decision 98/536/EC including antithyroid agents, beta-agonists, chloramphenicol and dapsone, antibiotics, carbadox and chemical elements.
The Dairy Chemistry Laboratory carries out compositional analysis of dairy products and infant formula to verify compliance with Council Regulation 1308/2013 and Directive 2006 /141 on the composition of Infant Formula/Follow-on-formula. This laboratory facilitates international trade in dairy products by carrying out testing to certify both the food safety and compositional criteria set by the EU third countries. The laboratory also carries out analysis of dairy products to ensure compliance with market support requirements under Regulations 1308/2013 and 826/2008.
The Food Chemistry Division Laboratories are fully accredited, which means that the EU Commission and our customers can have complete confidence in our ability to analyse samples for a wide range of Food Safety related analytes.
The Laboratories are all accredited to the ISO 17025, as part of the overall DAFM Laboratoies accreditation, with a flexible scope. The laboratory’s accreditation number is 385T and its current scope can be obtained from the Irish National Accreditation website at:https://www.inab.ie/Directory-of-Accredited-Bodies/Laboratory-Accreditation/Testing/DAFM-Laboratories-Backweston.html
Being fully accredited is a requirement for all laboratories involved in the official control of foodstuffs. Being an accredited Laboratory ensures that the EU Commission and our customers can have complete confidence in our laboratory’s ability to analyse samples for pesticide residues.
The Food Safety and Food Authenticity (FSFA) Strategy 2018-2020, published by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), and developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders, sets out a range of key objectives for the further development of food safety policy in Ireland. Notably, the DAFM FSFA Strategy is underpinned by five thematic goals which were identified as central to it.
- Data Information and Knowledge
- Policy and Regulatory Framework
Seven projects addressing the recommendations of the FSFA strategy delivered a package of sixty-five recommendations at the end of 2020. These recommendations were analysed and a strategy to explore their implementation was devised early in 2021. The Department proceeded to apply for technical support from the commission to explore these recommendations at a National and European level.
Technical Support Instrument (TSI)
In 2021 a team of consultants were appointed by DG REFORM to undertake this important project on assisting on the implementation of the FSFA strategy and the current TSI project is underway.
Further information about the DG REFORM Technical Support Instrument (TSI) can be found on the following website: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/83f0d-eu-commission-technical-support-instrument-tsi-irelands-national-coordinating-authority/
In relation to this FSFA programme, benchmarks for both an As-Is and To-Be situation are deemed central to this project. They provide a framework against which the TSI project team will assess the current reporting and operating structures of the agri-food regulatory and policy sector, identify gaps between the current and ideal states, and design effective changes to ensure the strategy meets each of its objectives.
For this TSI project there are two main Outcomes that will be delivered by 2023:
Outcome 1: The better regulation of food in Ireland
Outcome 2: The digitisation of the food regulatory framework in Ireland
The development of an As-Is model exploring the governance structures and operational norms within the DAFM, as well operating procedures in other relevant departments and agencies. The model will identify any skills gaps in the organisation and set out the general structure of the system in its current guise.
The development of a To-Be model which will review the current systems for suitability and propose modifications where relevant. This model will identify the specific needs of the system that must be delivered, as well as the benefits of filling any gaps identified in the As-Is model. The terms of Reference for this deliverable can be downloaded here: