asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will set up a chemical and microscopic analysis laboratory to examine meal compounds for animal feedingstuffs.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Feedingstuffs Analysis.
Facilities are available at the State Laboratory for the chemical analysis of samples of feedingstuffs. As regards microscopic analysis I am advised that this method is not sufficiently precise to quantify the percentage of ingredients in a compound feed and is therefore of limited value as a control measure. This matter is however being investigated by my Department in consultation with the farming organisations, the Agricultural Institute and the Faculty of Agriculture in UCD.
When does the Minister expect to have a decision?
I do not know.
The Minister mentioned that it was unsatisfactory but if there is any deficiency in a compound this is the only way we can find out. Is the Minister aware of this?
I shall have to take the Deputy's word for it until I get the true answer and that is under investigation.
asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is aware that there are discrepancies in the composition of animal feeding meals supplied by different compounders; and if he will have the meals examined regularly.
Licensed manufacturers of compound feedingstuff are required under the Fertilisers, Feeding Stuffs and Mineral Mixtures Act, 1955, to comply with standards laid down in relation to the content of oil, crude protein and fibre in each compound. Provided these standards are reached compounders are free to vary the individual ingredients in their compounds. Compounders' premises are inspected regularly by officers of my Department and samples are drawn for analysis.
Is the Minister aware that the crude protein analysis is not a real guide as to whether it is available to the animal that is fed those meals?
Unfortunately it is all that the law requires. If a better way can be found we are all anxious to find it. That is part of the investigations being made.
Could the Minister state the number of occasions on which the law has been broken in the past 12 months?
I cannot answer that.
Is the Minister aware of any prosecution?
Perhaps the Minister would communicate with us at a later date.
I shall do that.