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Minister Coveney opens International Conference on Food Safety in the European Union

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today gave the opening address at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Conference -  Stepping up to the plate - is your food any safer? A decade of science underpinning EU food safety policy.

Minister Coveney thanked both of the Authorities for inviting him to speak at the conference and went on to say that "it is very important to continually assess and review where we stand in food safety and this is why the theme of this conference is so relevant as it looks back over the past ten years at the evolution of food safety in the EU, assesses current matters and looks forward to what food safety issues may be in 2022".

Minister Coveney said that "food safety is an absolute priority for the Irish food industry and the Government has invested heavily to assist in maintaining the highest food safety standards. The Government intends to drive a very ambitious growth agenda for the agri-food sector. One of the key factors in achieving this growth is the confidence of the consumer in the quality of the food being produced and food safety is the bedrock of this confidence. As we look forward to the future, Europe faces new challenges related to global warming, consumption of natural resources and sustainability of the food supply. Along the entire food chain, agriculture and food production are part of these challenges. As new technologies are being developed in the areas of improving crop yields, genetic selection of food animals and the application of novel food processing technologies, we need to ensure that safety and health standards are paramount for consumer protection".

The Minister concluded by saying that the "EFSA has a key role to play in evaluating risks and providing feedback that will ensure a high level of protection of European citizens and that the EU regulatory process is build on the foundation of the best independent scientific advice".

Date Released: 04 October 2012