Complaints Of ‘Ad Hoc’ Environmental Analysis Of Harvest 2020

The EU Commission is set to look into complaints that have been made about the agri-industry’s Food Harvest 2020 expansion plan.

Fifteen Irish environmental groups complained to the commission that only an ‘ad hoc’ analysis of the environmental impact of the strategies set forward in the Harvest 2020  programme.

Under the plan, milk and pig-meat production will be increase by 50%, beef and sheep by 20%, poultry production by 10% and fish farming by 78% by 2020.

The groups say that such increases in production could have profound effects for their regions and increase Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

They also pointed out that Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is chairing the implementation committee for the plan, has failed to look into this matter even though he  is legally required to do so by EU directives on the process.

A spokesman for the groups said it was “ridiculous” to form a strategy with no legally-structured regard to environmental issues and measures to “prevent, reduce and offset any significant adverse effects on the environment”.

The groups involved are An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Coastwatch Europe, Feasta, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Irish Environment, Forest Friends, Global Action Plan, Hedgelaying Association of Ireland, Irish Doctors Environmental Association, Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Natural Forestry Foundation, Just Forests and the Organic Centre.

EU Severely Criticises Food Safety Of Irish Shellfish

The E.U. Commission says that it will stand-by it’s criticism of the food safety standards of some Irish produced shellfish. In a report by the commissions Food and Veterinary Office they stated that there are “numerous deficiencies all along the production chain” in control systems to check the safety of mussels, oysters, scallops and clams, all species of bivalve molluscs.

“As a consequence, it can be concluded that the system in place cannot offer all the necessary guarantees that live bivalve molluscs and fishery products derived from them placed on the market for human consumption comply with EU public health standards.”

The Irish authorities have strongly disagreed with the findings in the report, and claim that some of the claims it makes are incorrect.

Read the full story on the Irish Times

Investment In Seafood Industry Will Bring Increase In Jobs And Sales

21 seafood processing companies are set to invest €15.5m in Ireland, leading to 140 new jobs.

It will be supported by grants of €3.2m under a European Union scheme.

The small and medium enterprises involved are based in Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Louth and Kerry.

The investment is expected to bring  €44m in increased sales of seafood products by 2015.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said the companies involved represented the future of the seafood industry.