Cork Harbour milk residue research

An animal health surveillance of dairy herds in the vicinity of a large industrial chemical cluster in the Cork Harbour region was presented at the recent Teagasc Milk Quality conference by Jim Buckley, formerly of Cork County Council.

His areas of research undertook a milk residue survey in the Cork Harbour area in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency and Cork County Council.

“Cork has a diverse socio-economic infrastructure consisting of agriculture, industry and tourism. The county accounts for approximately 29 per cent of gross agricultural output and 25 per cent of the dairy output of Republic of Ireland,” Buckley explained in his presentation.

“The Cork area experienced a rapid expansion of the pharmaceutical industry in the late 1980s /early 1990s with a large number of international chemical industries establishing manufacturing plants in the Cork Harbour region and surrounding regions.

Dairy cows residing in the region are considered to be key indicators of the quality of the ambient environment and they are also significant contributors to the human food chain both through milk and meat supplied, he noted.

“Toxic chemicals, if present in the environment, may bio-accumulate in over time.”

The overall findings of  the research indicated there was no evidence, on the basis of comparison of control and target herd results, of any adverse effect of location on clinical pathology parameters.

Buckley continued: “The reduction in total dioxins in milk produced in the Cork Harbour catchment and adjacent areas is similar to the findings of other studies in the UK and Ireland for the same period.”

The programme was co-ordinated by the Veterinary Department, Cork County Council, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and was funded by way of contributions from industrial operators under the terms of their licences.

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