21 February 1997

Irish tests find meat in feed

IRISH farm minister Ivan Yates is under pressure to compel compounders to openly declare feed ingredients after tests found meat and bonemeal in feed samples taken from mills.

Mr Yates said a test used by the department, identified either avian, or mammalian bone, in 76 samples since the beginning of 1996. Thirty-nine of these cases were now being investigated by the department.

The findings have angered the Irish Farming Association, who have accused Mr Yates, and the compound feed industry, of a major failure in their responsibility to exclude meat and bonemeal from feed in 1996.

Coincidently figures released by MAFF show a massive rise in the number of BSE outbreaks in the Republic for the same year. Seventy-three BSE cases were confirmed in 1996 – compared with as average of 16 cases for 1989-1995.

Inclusion of mammalian meat and bonemeal in cattle rations was banned by the department in 1990, although manufacturers are allowed to include poultry remains in ruminant feed.

But as difficulties exist in distinquishing between poultry and ruminant bones, Mr Yates plans to all manufacturers with poultry offal or bonemeal on their premises to apply for special licences. These are unlikely to be issued to mills also manufacturing ruminant feed.

But the IFA also want Mr Yates to compel compounders to openly declare ingredients in descending order.n