Department of Agriculture laboratories to assist in Covid-19 testing

Laboratories operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will soon be assisting in the efforts to detect and diagnose Covid-19 in humans.

A spokesperson for the department told AgriLand that the laboratories will be used to assist the National Virus Reference Laboratory at University College Dublin (UCD).

The spokesperson stressed that the department would continue to provide laboratory services in the areas of food safety and disease control.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s laboratories are currently finalising arrangements to support and assist the National Virus Reference Laboratory, UCD in dealing with the expected increase in demand for testing for the virus that causes Covid-19 over the coming weeks.

“The department will continue to provide the laboratory supports that are essential to ensuring food safety and disease control; the continuity of food and feed supply chains [including export trade]; and the operation of other businesses [including farming enterprises and food business operators],” the spokesperson added.

Nitrates Derogation applications

In other Department of Agriculture related news, Minister Michael Creed, today, Thursday, March 19, announced a short extension to the closing date for the 2020 Nitrates Derogation applications.

The closing date is now extended to Friday, April 24. This decision has been taken following consultation with stakeholders and allows “farmers to better plan for the year ahead”.

Applications, as in previous years, must be submitted to Minister Creed’s department using the on-line portal: Farmers are advised to contact their agricultural advisor, by phone or e-mail, to determine if they should avail of this facility.