Press Release

Environmental Health Services Conference addressed by Minister O´Malley

Mr Tim O´Malley T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children today (18 October, 2002) opened the second day of the Annual Conference of the Environmental Health Services of the Mid Western Health Board.

The theme of today´s session is Food Safety – Future of Change.

“Food safety is about the protection the public´s health first and foremost,” said the Minister. Referring to a series of food scares in recent years the Minister said that “to regain the trust of consumers, all sectors of the food industry must demonstrate a commitment to the production of safe food and must be seen to put the public’s health before profit.”

In his address the Minister highlighted a number of changes in the operation of food control services in recent years which, he said, had “allowed Ireland to develop a dynamic and forward-looking food control service.” He commended the Mid Western Health Board Environmental Health Service on the accreditation of its quality management system and for a number of local initiatives to promote a culture of compliance with food safety legislation.

The Minister then referred to the role of the European Union as the main driver of change in the area of food safety in particular through the implementation of the legislative programme set out in the Commission´s White Paper on Food Safety. He expressed confidence that the food control practitioners in the Mid Western Health Board and in the other health boards had a proven ability to face any future challenges.

The Minister thanked the organisers of the conference and wished those present every success in their deliberations.