Old mats used as bedding caused milk contamination scare

Old matting material used as bedding in cow cubicles has been identified as the source of polybrominated diphenylether in a raw milk sample from a farm in Co Cork.

The instance of elevated levels of PBDEs was outlined in the Environmental Protection Agency 2010 and 2012 reports on dioxin levels in the Irish environment.

However, the level found was not high by European comparison, and did not constitute a risk for public health, said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, answering a question on the matter in the Dáil last week, from Green Party TD Eamon Ryan.

Mr Creed said an inter-agency group of experts from the EPA, the FSAI, and his department was established to investigate the cause of the elevated levels.

“Following considerable investigation, including a comprehensive testing regime of a number of matrices, including milk, various feed materials, water and other substances in the animal housing, the source of the problem was established.“

PBDEs are flame retardants once used in a wide array of products, but now banned in the EU, although toxicity studies in animals indicated injurious effects only at concentrations about 8,000 times higher than the estimated population intake for consumers of Irish produce.


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