DAIRYGOLD HAS STOPPED collecting milk from a Cork farm where several cows have died after ingesting lead.
The co-op confirmed that the Department of Agriculture is now investigating what it described as ”a non-contagious animal health issue” on the farm of one its suppliers.
Department officials advised the Cork-based dairy business to suspend milk collections from the farm pending the outcome of its probe.
“While the investigation is ongoing, and on a precautionary basis, the movement of animals from the herd is restricted and product from the farm is prohibited from entering the food chain,” the department said.
It added that the food safety watchdog has determined that no consumer risk was posed by product from the farm that entered the food chain prior to the restriction.
Possible source of contamination
The departmental investigation is now trying to pinpoint how the cows came to be exposed to the lead.
“Investigations currently underway are focused on degrading lead weights on collars worn by the animals,” the department said.
There is no evidence of any other source of contamination.
“A small number of farms known to have used the same weights have been identified and the weights removed,” it added.
The department has found no evidence of similar problems on these farms.
Lead is one of the most common causes of cattle poisoning and can be lethal even in small doses.