Farm Ireland

Monday 25 March 2019

Concerns over disposal of risk material linked to BSE

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Concerns have been raised over the disposal of a hazardous by-product of the meat processing industry in the event of a hard Brexit.

The concerns centre around the disposal of Category 1 Meat and bone meal (MBM) which is a product of the rendering industry.

Category 1 includes the backbone of animals, which includes the vertebral column and feeding of MBM to cattle is thought to have been responsible for the spread of BSE in most parts of the world and MBM is no longer allowed in feed for ruminant animals.

Following the BSE crisis in the early 1990s, unlike other EU-countries, the UK developed infrastructure to incinerate specifically Category 1 Meat and Bone Meal. 

Since then, several rendering companies in Europe have been shipping Category 1 Meat and Bone Meal to the UK for the safe disposal and incineration in the UK.

The production of Category1I Meat and Bone Meal in the EU-27 (EU without the UK) is close to 1m tonnes per year. 

The European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA) have said that in the case of ia hard Brexit, which means a Brexit without a transitional period, shipping Meat and Bone Meal to the UK may no longer be possible.

This, it says, will undoubtedly constitute a big problem for the rendering industry in Ireland and mainland Europe as the 27 Member States do not have enough incineration capacity for the safe disposal of Category 1 Meat and Bone Meal.

As a result, EFPRA has urged the European Commission to draft a Regulation that, in case of a hard Brexit, the shipping of Category 1 material to the UK, will be further authorised.

The Department of Agriculture said it is aware of the possible regulatory issues arising from a hard Brexit and in consultation with the industry are currently examining other disposal options.

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