Written Answers. - Hazardous Substances.

Michael Bell

Question:

92 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if the material stored in tanks at Marsh Road, Drogheda, County Louth, by a company (details supplied) under the auspices and veterinary control of his Department, assessed by a panel of experts as containing BSE will be liquefied or moved before a full scientific examination of the material is conclusively agreed and is certified by the health authority as safe; if those workers handling the material and residents of the area wherein it is stored will be properly alerted to the potential danger of this material; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3982/02]

The tallow stored in the tanks at Marsh Road, Drogheda, is the subject of a protracted legal action between the owners of the facility and the Department, among others, that has resulted until recently in a delay in moving this product for disposal. My Department has lodged a defence in court that would strongly dispute any assertion that this material contains BSE. The tallow is derived from specified risk material that was produced and handled in accordance with Irish and EU law and is stored under the supervision and control of my Department. The storage facility has been the subject of inspection by both the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, both of which have determined that the storage conditions are acceptable.

A quantity of tallow, approximately 900 tonnes, has already been moved under Department veterinary supervision from the tank farm for destruction on the Continent. My information is that this movement was carried out without difficulty.