A serial testing programme for meat plant workers must be capable of returning results within 24 hours, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has stressed.
The Ibec group which represents primary processers in the meat sector is due before a sitting of the Special Oireachtas Committee on COVID-19 on Thursday morning.
Commenting in advance of the hearing MII Director, Cormac Healy said: “Our members remain fully committed to public health guidelines, and we are working to ensure that any necessary additional protocols are clear, and tests capable of being turned around in under 24 hours.
“The industry has worked diligently to protect employees throughout the course of this pandemic and continues to do so. Vigilance remains the priority, but the fact that there is only one active cluster in a primary meat processing plant indicates the significant progress we are making.”
MII will also cautioned against a rush to blame the processing sector, which has been designated an essential service. It will tell committee members that there is only one active COVID-19 cluster at a slaughter plant compared to 22 in early July.
These 22 clusters are no longer active and 99% of affected staff have recovered and returned to work, it will say.
It will point out that until 4 August and the outbreak of coronavirus at Kildare Chilling, there were just five additional cases across all MII member sites.
It will say that that the rigid enforcement of HSE protocols published on 15 May have served to reverse the trend of positive cases in meat factories.
MII will also reiterate its openness to unannounced inspections of plants from the Health and Safety Authority.
Fears of further factory closures
‘Serial testing programme’ to be introduced in meat plants