EU rules affect meat-and-bone meal disposal

 

The problem of handling large quantities of meat-and-bone meal has greatly increased as a result of new EU rules, the Department of Agriculture has said. The rules ban the material from landfill sites.

It emerged yesterday that meat-and-bone meal specific risk material from herds in the Republic was being buried at a landfill site in Northern Ireland.

A Department spokesman confirmed that in the last 18 months, 12,000 tonnes of specified risk materials from Irish meat plants had been buried in a Northern Ireland landfill site.

"No local authority in the Republic would give Monery Products, which renders this material, permission to put the meat-and-bone meal into a landfill site," he said.

"However, one local authority in the North did accept the material and over the last 18 months the material was brought across the Border and dealt with there."

The EU has now ruled that meat-and-bone meal from specified risk material cannot be put into landfill sites.

The spokesman said the specified risk material was made up of the heads, spinal cords and other organs from healthy animals and posed no risk to human health. Material from herds in which BSE had been found had, until now, been exported for incineration.

He said none of this material had been sent to the North but there was a problem now because it would become increasingly difficult to find some where to take it.

"With no outlet in the North, a ban on the export of meat-and-bone meal - which was 140,000 tonnes last year - and the slaughter for destruction scheme, we are facing a major storage problem," he said.

The issues surrounding the implementation of the EU regulations will be discussed later today in Brussels at a meeting of EU agriculture ministers which will be attended by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Walsh.