Ireland - The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) should be given the job of monitoring the safety of animal feed, according to an inter-agency review, chaired by Dr Patrick Wall, of the dioxin crisis of 2008.
The report, which took into account the findings of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and Food and direct submissions, contains 39 conclusions and recommendations on all the issues surrounding a crisis that cost Irish taxpayers over €150 million.
The FSAI does not currently have responsibility for monitoring animal feed safety under the contract it holds with the Government to monitor food for human consumption.
The report highlighted the fact that “primary responsibility under legislation to produce safe feed and food rests with feed and food business operators”. It pointed in particular to the inadequacy of the feed business operators’ safety management systems and also to inadequacies in the inspection regime.
The report concluded “there was no delay in the handling of the incident from 19th November and all of the actions taken were proportionate and prompt”. In relation to the product recall, the report said that the “action taken by the relevant public authorities was swift and decisive”, a view subsequently endorsed by both the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority.
It also noted that “public confidence was restored quickly” and also concluded that, in the management of the incident, “the protection of consumer health was rightly the overriding priority”.
Commenting on the report yesterday, Minister for Agriculture and Food Brendan Smith said a number of the issues raised in the report had already been identified by his department.
He said these were particularly in relation to animal-feed controls and risk-assessment procedures, and the department had already amended the 2009 animal feed inspection programme to assign a higher risk category to the drying of feed and to grain drying operators.
He said the controls now place greater emphasis on the checking of feed safety management plans, based on hazard analysis and critical control point principles that feed business operators are required to draw up and implement. The controls now remind operators involved in the drying of grain and feed that only particular fuels (gas, diesel and kerosene) should be used for such drying.
He said the department had reminded feed business operators of their obligation to ensure the safety of the feed chain.