We have just had another visit from our veterinary officer to make sure that we are compliant with the tomes of legislation that seems to grow and expand on a daily basis to ensure, apparently, that you, the consumer, do not suffer from any known or unknown disease, parasite or bacteria that might harbour in the deepest recesses of the sanitised smokehouse.
Consumers can sleep easy at night knowing that we, like all food processors, in Ireland are subjected to regular inspection by the Dept of Agriculture, the SFPA, the FSAI, Cork County Council etc etc.
Each time, one of these bodies want us to do something new; we get that sorted then they find something else for us to tick more boxes, get tested, buy new shoes, get temperature mapped, get thermometers calibrated, remove this, buy that and on it goes. Is there some overpaid civil servant up there in Dublin and/or Brussels dreaming up new challenges to keep them and their merry team of inspectors in a job?
Headlines today: “Rip-off Republic”.
Is it any wonder when the costs of compliance are so high?
Ten years ago we built our smokehouse here ouside Timoleague; for ten years we have been using the same smoking kiln. Why, after ten years of production, do they want us to spend serious money to get our kiln temperature mapped? Why didn’t they ask us to do it ten years ago? What information do they expect to glean from mapping it now? We know how it works, we know where the hot and cold spots are, we know how to control it; that’s our experience, that’s what we do.
Small producers are throttled by the inspectorate; good work has been done by the Artisan Forum with the FSAI, but there is still this No Risk mentality that permeates. Risk is part of our life. Remove all risk and perhaps the bureaucrats may be happy, but the rest of us won’t.