14 June 1996

MAFF to study rendering plant

MAFF is to investigate concerns over effluent disposal at a Kent rendering plant used to process carcasses from cattle over 30 months old.

The move follows fears raised by a neurologist Alan Mills that discharges from the plant may be a danger to human health. The report prompted calls from Labour and the Lib Dems for a full investigation.

Farm minister, Douglas Hogg, said processes at the plant had been approved by the Environ-ment Agency and as far as he knew all conditions set by the agency were being met. But MAFF had to investigate reports raising concern.

Shadow farm minister, Gavin Strang, called for a clear statement from Mr Hogg on the safety of disposal procedures throughout the rendering industry. But concerns over abattoir waste disposal and the use of landfill sites for meat and bonemeal have been dismissed by the governments BSE advisory committee (SEAC).

It has told MAFF that there is no reason to ban the spreading of blood and gut contents on land. No BSE infectivity had ever been detected in blood and there was no evidence of horizontal transmission that would suggest cattle waste was directly infective to cattle.

Washings from abattoir floors could continue to be discharged to sewers. But material caught in drainage traps, which could include pieces of brain and spinal cord, must be destroyed.

SEAC also concluded that there was no reasonable scientific argument for saying landfill should not continue to be an acceptable outlet for meat and bonemeal.

And MAFFs plans to incinerate tallow and MBM, either in power stations, cement kilns or dedicated incinerators also posed no risk to nearby residents. &#42