Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (632)

John McGuinness

Question:

632. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 167 of 27 June 2012 regarding the Garda investigation into the cause of the dioxin crisis, if he will confirm the actions taken by his Department to date to resolve the issue and the status of the Garda inquiry. [8804/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Arising from the dioxin contamination incident of December 2008, my Department has taken significant steps to enhance the level of inspections and sampling at feed business operator (FBO) establishments with a view to avoid, as far as possible, the repetition of similar incidents. These measures include a focus on commercial grain dryers whereby all commercial grain dryers have been subject to an annual audit since 2009. Grain samples taken from every commercial grain/feed dryer has been tested for dioxins or indicator PCB’s since then and all test results have proved compliant.

350 farmers involved in on-farm drying of grain and feed have been audited at least once and, in some cases twice, since 2009. The emphasis of the on-farm audits is on the oil used in dryers, and the operation of the dryers. Samples of the dried grain are analysed for PCB and a dioxin test and all have been compliant.

In addition to commercial and on-farm direct drying operations, there are a number of businesses which have a direct drying process in their feed manufacturing activity. All such FBO’s have been subject to increased controls including an annual audit.

Finally, greater emphasis is being placed in the Department’s annual inspection programmes on checking the HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) plans of Feed Business Operators. Trader Notices have issued to establishments reminding them of requirements in relation to HAACP systems, with particular emphasis on ensuring that the correct type of oil is used in feed/grain drying operations.

The matter of prosecutions is one for the Gardai and DPP.