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Report of an Inter-Agency Group on the Silvermines Area of County Tipperary

Thursday, 17 May 2018

An inter-agency group (IAG) was convened by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in May 2017 following the detection of elevated lead levels in milk in three dairy herds from the Silvermines Area of Co Tipperary, an historic mining area with a natural abundance of heavy metals in the environment.

The remit of the IAG was to consider previous work undertaken within the Silvermines Area and to review and update the active management measures to be taken to safeguard the food-chain and to protect human health and animal health and welfare.

The IAG comprised representatives from DAFM, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Health Services Executive, Teagasc and Tipperary County Council.

The group published its report on 16 May 2018 and this is available here. The IAG has concluded that the Silvermines area is a safe place in which to grow up, live, work and produce food. However it is important that farmers, the local community and relevant agencies continue to implement active management measures on an on-going basis.

The IAG has made 18 recommendations relating to the assessment, management and communication of risk - broadly recommending the same active management measures as were recommended by a previous IAG in 2000, reflecting the fact that the risk has not substantially changed but the recommended measures have been updated and enhanced to reflect the latest regulatory standards and scientific risk assessment information.

DAFM has already implemented measures to enhance food safety - providing information and advisory support to the farming community and food processors and ensuring that appropriate food safety monitoring measures are in place.