How is Ireland’s meat industry handling recent Covid-19 outbreaks?

With billions of euro at stake, processors may need to make changes to work practices

The meat industry continues to deal with the fact that its customers want high-quality products as cheaply as possible, while its suppliers argue that the prices they receive make it difficult for them to make a living. Photograph: iStock

The meat industry continues to deal with the fact that its customers want high-quality products as cheaply as possible, while its suppliers argue that the prices they receive make it difficult for them to make a living. Photograph: iStock

Covid-19 has thrust the Republic’s multibillion-euro meat industry into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Outbreaks of the virus among workers in several plants forced their temporary closure, and were a factor in the Government partially shutting down counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

The meat industry has two basic divisions. One is primary processing, which involves killing the animals, butchering them, packing the cuts and selling them to shops, restaurants, fast-food chains including McDonald’s and Burger King, food service businesses and others.

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