Written Answers. - Protein Testing.

John Deasy

Question:

37 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food his plans for the introduction of legislation for protein testing in milk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18907/03]

While there is no statutory basis for my Department to carry out protein testing, it does conduct regular checks on the calibration of the instruments used in milk processing establishments for measuring the protein content of milk and also conducts random administrative checks to ensure that this result is correctly transcribed into the calculation of the milk price paid to the producer.

The price of milk and the payment conditions is primarily a matter between producers and processors. I am aware that a number of milk processors carry out regular testing and payment for milk protein, which is a very useful way of enhancing the value of the raw material. I would add also, that unlike fat, there is no limit on the protein element in milk under the quota system.