Food Safety Authority of Ireland: food distribution and processing is totally safe
Dairy processors have put in place "strict protocols" as the Government's coronavirus emergency plan is announced.
Commenting Director of Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) Conor Mulvihill told the Farming Independent that while dairy production moves into peak season, the key issue for the sector is to keep milk processing facilities open.
"We have been in close contact with the key departments here in terms of ensuring the supply chain remains robust. Dairy processing is understood at all levels of government to be ‘essential business.’
"With milk production in Ireland moving into its peak months very soon, the key issue for the dairy industry is to keep milk processing facilities open. Milk is a perishable product and I want to allay any fears that farmers may have over their milk being collected in the coming weeks.
"While we acknowledge that there will be severe disruption to enterprise and the State in the aftermath of todays announcement, we will be working with the authorities to ensure the collection, processing and storage of dairy and specialised nutrition continues in the face of these challenges."
He also said that each processor has put in place strict protocols around the collection of milk and to minimise person to person contact.
"Both the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and EFSA have strongly communicated that food distribution and processing is totally safe."
The dairy industry, he said, is very aware of the threat posed by the coronavirus and that the dairy and specialised nutrition business will support the measures announced by Government this morning to effectively address and limit the spread of Covid-19.
"The dairy sector is a critical part of the rural Irish economy and the industry has put in place detailed protocols to ensure milk continues to be processed through any escalation in the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland.
"We continue to engage with all companies on a daily basis to sure a coordinated approach is applied. I’m really pleased at how advanced preparations are at every processor at this stage. Each processor has for weeks been engaged in very detailed business continuity planning to deal with various scenarios."