11 May 2001
Grain ban on carcass wagons

By Emma Penny

ARABLE growers face a major transport shortage because lorries used to shift carcasses during foot-and-mouth have been banned from carrying grain.

The United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association – which operates the assurance scheme governing grain transport – said the lorries were unfit.

The revelation means there is likely to be a bigger shortage of lorries than usual when it comes to transporting grain after this years harvest.

The assurance scheme is linked with the growers Assured Combinable Crop Scheme, which has now agreed that it must follow UKASTAs lead.

Ministry of Agriculture officials had claimed that the lorries could be “disinfected using very strict procedures and could then go straight back into use”.

But the MAFF advice conflicts with the core requirement of UKASTAs code of practice, drawn up post-BSE crisis in 1997.

Under the code, anyone carrying carcasses would be unable to carry grain, seed or feed for UKASTA members.

A row is escalating between UKASTA and MAFF because the ministry is refusing to give UKASTA a list of companies involved in foot-and-mouth haulage.

But one lorry owner who has been involved in transporting animals carcasses during the crisis says MAFF took no note of his trailer or chassis numbers.

This could lead to some lorry operators being able to use their vehicles to carry grain and feed after benefiting financially from being involved in the cull.

UKASTA company secretary Jeremy Smith told trade magazine Motor Transport: “MAFF didnt think this through at all.

“By deploying food-chain vehicles, they are transferring an animal welfare problem to a much more serious food safety problem.”

Roger Wrapson, of the Road Haulage Association, said many hauliers who adhere to the UKASTA code were responsible and had turned down cull work.

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