Written Answers. - Agricultural Subsidies.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

15 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason his Department has withdrawn the subsidy for the rendering of offal into meat and bonemeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19017/03]

An Exchequer subsidy to the rendering industry was instituted in the wake of the EU ban on the use of meat and bonemeal, MBM, as an animal feed in late 2000. Since then, the level of the subsidy has been reduced progressively and was phased out completely with effect from end May 2003. The total amount paid to the rendering sector since the introduction of the subsidy amounted to €146 million. While EU state aid rules permitted national Exchequers to subsidise the rendering sector in the wake of the feed ban, a course of action taken by most member states, these payments must end this year. My Department continues to have responsibility for storage and eventual destruction of the MBM accumulated in the period up to December 2002 when responsibility for the disposal of MBM produced was taken on by the sector.