OVER 1000t of cattle feed has been recalled in the Republic of Ireland amid fears it has been contaminated with meat and bonemeal originating in Germany.

A statement from the department of agriculture in Dublin explained that two consignments of German sugar beet pulp, totaling 4000t and shipped last month via Rotterdam, were found to contain traces of “terrestrial bone”.

The vast majority of this raw material was detained in store at the time of the discovery, but around 300t had already been distributed to compounders.

Much of this was successfully recalled, but around 58t had already been incorporated into compound feed and that too had to be rounded up.

“In total 1055t of compound feed has been recalled to store,” said the statement.

A small amount had also slipped in to Northern Ireland and was being recalled by the Belfast authorities.

Mammalian meat and bone meal was first banned from ruminant feed throughout the EU in 1994, followed by a total ban in all animal feed in 2001.

The Dublin government has therefore notified the EU Commission of the contamination, which in turn has requested information from the German and Dutch authorities regarding distribution of the sugar beet pulp.

Department of agriculture officials have played down the risks involved, describing the potential danger to human or animal health as “negligible”.

The discovery of the contaminated German beet pulp comes just days after a report by the Berlin-based consumer group Foodwatch published a report alleging widespread abuse of the country‘s MBM controls.

According to the report, some 124,000t of MBM went missing in 2003.

It suggested that MBM intended for fertilizer may have been slipped into the animal feed chain as a cheap source of protein.