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You can change your ad preferences anytime. State Laboratory Annual Report. Show related SlideShares at end. Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. State Laboratory Annual Report 1.
In May, the Laboratory marked the anniversary with a Client Seminar at which personnel from the Department of Agriculture, Revenue and the State Pathologist gave very interesting and stimulating presentations to staff on what the work of the State Laboratory means to them. The Seminar was very well attended and staff gained an excellent insight into the many different purposes that their results of analysis are use for.
In November, the National Sports Campus Development Authority kindly hosted a presentation and tour of the current Abbotstown facility for staff including retirees who previously worked there.
It was a very enjoyable event and staff were interested to see the many changes that have taken place there in recent years. The former State Laboratory building is now the FAI headquarters and there are no traces left of the laboratory infrastructure. On looking back over the ten years, it is notable how much change has taken place in the analytical work of the State Laboratory.
Significant blocks of work have been discontinued and the level of testing in other areas has increased dramatically. In that time, the Laboratory consolidated its testing, focusing on chemical analysis, and it no longer carries out any testing for genetically modified organisms or for plant diseases. At a time of reduced resources, the low levels of testing in these areas did not allow the laboratory to operate in an efficient and cost effective manner and there were alternative service providers available.
Therefore, the decision was taken to concentrate on carrying out complex chemical analyses where there where no service providers available in Ireland. The new areas of work include the testing of feed and food samples for dioxins and the testing for toxicants in suspect bird and animal poisoning cases.
In other areas the level and complexity of testing has increased dramatically especially in the Human and Veterinary Toxicology sections. Although the number of animal feed samples declined, the number of analyses performed on these samples increased substantially and there is now a greater focus on testing for undesirable substances such as heavy metals, banned antibiotics, mycotoxins and dioxins compared to when the focus was more on nutrient analysis.
In all these areas, new multi-analyte test methods have been introduced to replace single analyte methods. This has dramatically improved the efficiency of the Laboratory as demonstrated by the fact that there has been an almost 3-fold increase in the number of analytes tested for in the past ten years while overall sample numbers have remained relatively constant. In the Customs and Excise area, there have also been major changes in the numbers and types of samples submitted.
In the Excise area there is less routine monitoring and more potential prosecution samples submitted, particularly in relation to fuel laundering and counterfeit spirits. The Laboratory also provided support and advice to Revenue during the tendering and evaluation process for the deployment of roadside testing equipment. Overall the introduction of the new marker has been a very successful project and resulted in a very significant increase in Excise receipts for Revenue in Looking back, the move to new premises in proved to be an important milestone for the State Laboratory.
Moving to new, first class laboratory facilities enabled the Laboratory to grow and develop the highly specialised analytical service provided today.
The focus for the coming years will be to build on the progress made to date and to continue to develop its capability and expertise to provide the quality and range of service required by its clients.
This has grown from 21 test methods covering 34 analytes in to 46 test methods covering analytes in The quality and high standard of the work performed by the Laboratory was further highlighted when the Laboratory submitted two projects to the Civil Service Excellence Awards in October and one project was short listed for an award under the Insight and Analysis category.
Full details of work of the State Laboratory and its achievements in are presented in this annual report. As always without the commitment and dedication of its staff none of this would have been possible. The Laboratory lost six long-serving staff members through retirements in and the loss of scientific knowledge and expertise will be hard to replace. However the recruitment of new staff, including seven chemists in , will enable the Laboratory to build for the future and deliver on its vision of providing a world class regulatory scientific service to the State.
It is planned to recruit new staff to the Laboratory Analyst grade in which will improve the timeliness of the service provided as this is another important attribute for clients and one that was negatively impacted in In conclusion, I would like to sincerely thank all the staff of the Laboratory for their hard work and support throughout the year. Many had the very important task of training and mentoring new staff, in addition to delivering on their own goals and keeping abreast of scientific innovations.
This meant that our clients continued to receive a high quality and comprehensive service that met their needs despite the many challenges. Its high level objective is to provide an accredited, high quality and timely chemical analysis and advisory service to Government Departments and Offices, which supports their policies, regulatory programmes and strategic objectives, particularly in the areas of food and feed safety; revenue collection; fraud prevention; public health and environment protection.
It also provides centralised forensic toxicology services to the Coroners and other public sector clients. This increase was mainly due to increases in the number of food of animal origin samples tested for veterinary residues and hydrocarbon oil samples tested for fraud purposes. Analytical chemistry is a continually evolving area and staff of the Laboratory keep abreast of technological changes and take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technology to improve the quality and efficiency of the service provided to our clients.
EU and Irish legislation is regularly updated to reflect technological developments and the Laboratory must continually update and improve its methods of analysis. In , new methods of analysis were developed and existing methods were extended so that a total of 77 new tests were introduced, using a variety of analytical techniques.
The Laboratory has an important advisory function, particularly in the Customs and Excise area, and its staff act as the Irish representatives at EU scientific committees and technical working groups on behalf of Revenue and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation DJEI. National and international acceptance of results of analysis requires laboratories to have third party peer accreditation of its methods of analysis.
The Laboratory successfully underwent an annual assessment visit by INAB in and it is currently accredited for 46 test methods covering individual analytes. Support National Food and Feed Safety Programmes As Ireland is a major food exporter, monitoring and controlling aspects of food and animal feed safety is a high priority. The State Laboratory assists the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine DAFM and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland FSAI in ensuring the quality and safety of Irish food and food products by monitoring compliance with European and national legislation governing the production, distribution and sale of animal feedstuffs and by testing a wide range of foods for veterinary residues and other contaminants.
Animal Feedingstuffs Animal feed is one of the most important components of the production chain of food of animal origin. The aim of animal feed controls is to ensure that feedingstuffs are of good quality and do not constitute a hazard to human or animal health.
The controls are implemented through risk based inspections and sampling of feedingstuffs at all stages of the feed chain. The State Laboratory is the principal laboratory responsible for feedingstuffs analysis in Ireland.
Samples of feed materials, feed additives, mineral mixtures and compound feeds are routinely tested to ensure that they contain the declared nutrients protein, fat, starch and minerals , micro-nutrients trace elements, vitamins , fibre and moisture contents and do not contain elevated levels of toxic components dioxins, mycotoxins, heavy metals.
During , a number of priority samples were submitted for analysis. These included 22 samples to be tested for fluorine as a follow up to a Rapid Alert issued in May Due to the small number of samples normally included in the annual inspection plan for fluorine analysis, this testing was previously outsourced.
However, the Rapid Alert investigation revealed significant problems with how this analysis was performed in different EU laboratories. For this reason the decision was taken by the State Laboratory to develop a method in-house for this analysis from onwards. Other priority samples were tested for arsenic, cadmium, lead and selenium as part of an investigation into cattle deaths on a farm in July but no significant levels were detected. Also in July, two non-routine cattle feed samples were tested for sulphur content.
A new ICP-MS instrument was purchased during and work commenced on developing a method for the simultaneous determination of 15 trace elements, heavy metals and other elements in feed. Medicated Feed Prescribed antibiotics can be given to livestock in the form of medicated feed and the correct dosage rate is important to prevent a build up of antibiotic resistance. Feed samples are tested for authorised veterinary medicines and coccidiostats feed additives used to prevent coccidiosis, a major disease in poultry and other farm animals to ensure that the correct therapeutic levels are present.
During , in addition to routine testing, 15 feed samples were analysed for chlortetracycline to check the homogeneity of the manufacturing process. Another 3 potential prosecution samples were tested to check for the unauthorised use of chlortetracycline. During the production of feed containing coccidiostats, unavoidable carry-over of these compounds can occur from target feed to non-target 8.
The Laboratory tests for carryover levels of 11 coccidiostats in rations destined for non-target species. The Laboratory also tests for banned antibiotics which are no longer allowed in livestock production in Europe and the method is capable of detecting 12 different antibiotics. The new method, which required significant revalidation, is capable of detecting 14 different antibiotics in feed. The method for carryover levels of coccidiostats will be transferred to this new instrument during State Laboratory staff attended a number of meetings with DAFM staff and provided scientific advice on the implications of new tolerances that were being proposed for compositional labelling of medicated feeds and proposed cross-contamination limits.
Food Safety To ensure that food produced in Ireland is of the highest standard, the Food Safety Authority FSAI and DAFM work together to implement comprehensive multi-annual control plans to monitor the production of food at all stages of the food chain and ensure compliance with national and international standards of food safety. The State Laboratory has developed a high level of expertise in the chemical analysis of veterinary drug residues and other chemical contaminants such as dioxins and mycotoxins in food.
Veterinary Drug Residues The presence of unauthorised substances, residues of veterinary medicinal products or chemical contaminants in food may pose a risk to public health. Animal categories and food products covered include bovines, pigs, sheep and goats, horses, poultry, milk, eggs and honey. This testing had previously been outsourced and taking it in-house has resulted in significant savings for DAFM and reduced the turn around times.
Following a positive phenylbutazone result for an equine sample in May , a positive release scheme was put in place with sampled carcasses being detained at the factory pending the outcome of analysis. This programme continued during with samples prioritised and tested within an average turn around time of 4 days.
Animal fats for a range of species are sampled and tested under the National Residue Monitoring Plan and samples of milk are tested for the Environmental Protection Agency and Cork County Council as part of their annual surveys to monitor background levels of dioxins in the environment.
In , samples were also tested for an FSAI survey on background levels of dioxins and brominated flame retardants in Irish food of animal origin.
This survey involved a total of individual samples being homogenised, combined and mixed to form 55 composite samples for analysis.
The matrices tested included fat and liver samples from 4 different animal species, samples of 8 different species of fish, milk and egg samples. Dioxin testing was carried out in the State Laboratory and required the Laboratory to extend its existing sample preparation procedures to include the liver and fish matrices.
A portion of each composite sample was also sent to a contract laboratory abroad to be tested for brominated flame retardants as the State Laboratory does not yet have this capability. Mycotoxins are substances naturally produced by moulds and fungi that can enter the food chain via contaminated animal feedingstuffs.
Under the National Residue Monitoring Plan, samples of milk and liver are tested for aflatoxin M1 and ochratoxin A respectively. There is concern at EU level regarding the possible health risks associated with high dietary intakes of nitrates and since leafy vegetables are the main source of dietary nitrate, maximum levels have been established for nitrate content in lettuce and spinach and samples taken by DAFM are analysed by the State Laboratory on a regular basis.