Meat Industry Ireland (MII) - Statement
In response to COVID-19, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) members have prioritised the safety and wellbeing of staff, farmer suppliers and service providers by implementing a wide range of protective measures and protocols at each of their sites. These measures and protocols are fully compatible with the measures put in place by the Irish Government in response to COVID-19 and members are fully engaged with the relevant health authorities at local level in all instances where there are COVID-19 cases.
Despite these enhanced safety and protective measures, as the COVID-19 situation has evolved across the country, unfortunately some meat processing facilities have had to manage the impact of positive cases. In doing so, they have followed, in full, the advice and recommendations of the HSE and other authorities.
Meat processing is considered an essential service by Government in order to provide continuity of food supply in the domestic, European and international supply chains and to facilitate the orderly and welfare-friendly movement of animals from farms. Continued operations in meat processing is only possible due to the incredible commitment and efforts of staff at meat plants, of farmers, hauliers and of all service providers to the industry.
So far, production levels and processing throughput has been maintained in recent weeks in the pigmeat, lamb and poultry sectors. Beef throughput is down about 20% on equivalent weeks last year and 30% compared to early March 2020, but this reduction in throughput is due to market disruption and the loss of demand from the food service market rather than any limitation on operational capacity.
Companies will continue to enforce strict guidelines at every site in order to reinforce and enhance safety measures, in accordance with the advice and recommendations of the HSE and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.