The government has introduced a new Food Safety and Standards Authority, which is supposed to oversee the country’s food industry, to protect consumers from health risks from contaminated food.
But in the run-up to Christmas, critics have warned that the new body has not been up to the job.
The Government is to introduce a new regulator to be known as the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) which is to oversee all food safety issues in the country.
The FSAI will be chaired by Prof Andrew Rochford, a professor of law at Trinity College Dublin, who is due to take over as FSAI chief in the new year.
The head of the FSAI is to be an independent official appointed by the Taoiseach, which will make recommendations to the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Simon Coveney.
Mr Covenys administration will be based in Dublin and will be tasked with providing oversight and regulation of the countrys food system, while the Minister responsible for the Department of Agriculture and the Environment, Shane Ross, will oversee the implementation of the legislation.
The Taoiseas new food safety commissioner, which could be a woman, has been in place since the end of November.
In January, Mr Ross made it clear that he wanted to have a female chief regulator.
“I think women are generally better equipped to regulate, so I want to have one,” he said.
“It’s a matter of policy.
It’s a question of having one person, who will be appointed by me, who can have that mandate.”
The FSAII, which has been operating in the interim, has already had two reviews, which found “there is sufficient evidence to recommend that there is no evidence of an increased risk to consumers”.
However, the FSAII will not have the power to take any enforcement action against any company.
The watchdog has no powers to enforce its recommendations.
It has the power, however, to set minimum standards, and to make recommendations for changes to legislation.
Mr Ross has previously said he is open to working with the FSA I to address issues with the food industry.
The new food regulator will be accountable to the Taois executive, who in turn will have the final say.
However, some critics say the FSASI’s mandate will be a “loser-takes-all” one.
Prof Rochfield said it was “very clear that the FSAIS will not be the sole regulator”.
He said: “It is not an oversight body.
“But they will be responsible for doing it in the public interest, in the interests of consumers, not just the interests in their own industry. “
“If they want to say that they are going to do it for the sake of consumers then they have to do that. “
“That’s what I’m concerned about. “
It doesn’t seem to me like it will be about consumer welfare at all.” “
That’s what I’m concerned about.
It doesn’t seem to me like it will be about consumer welfare at all.”
A spokesperson for the Minister said: The Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the FSAIs Deputy Minister for the Environment and Climate Change have both said they are looking forward to the new FSAI and its role.
“There is no doubt that the Government will work closely with the Government’s regulatory authorities in the coming weeks and months to achieve a safe and sustainable food supply for all Ireland’s consumers and producers,” the spokesperson said.