The Irish government’s ban on milk and other dairy products from being fortified with a potent antibiotic, which can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems, has drawn international criticism.
But it appears that not everyone is complaining.
The Irish government is also banning milk and cream from being made with fortified edible oils.
The move is part of a crackdown on dairy farming, as the country’s farmers are facing increasing pressure from global dairy giants to slash their reliance on antibiotics.
Irish farmers are using edible oils, which contain ingredients such as coconut oil and palm oil, to make their products, including their dairy milk, but the move is causing a backlash.
The issue of antibiotics is particularly sensitive for farmers in Ireland, where more than 30,000 people die each year from infections linked to the drug, which has also been linked to heart disease and cancer.
In the United States, farmers in the Midwest have been lobbying Congress to ban the use of antibiotics in meat, poultry and eggs, arguing that the use is a public health threat.
Some US states, such as Nebraska, are considering similar measures.
But some in the Irish dairy industry, such a milk manufacturer and a major exporter, argue that they are not putting their health at risk.
“The milk industry is extremely well-managed and we do a lot of things to minimise the risk to people,” said Mark Stitts, a senior vice president at Fonterra, the countrys largest milk producer.
“I am very happy about the government saying it will not be a part of the new regulation,” he added.
But Irish farmers say that even if they were allowed to continue using the ingredients in the oils, it would not stop the disease from spreading.
In a statement to The Irish Independent, the company said it had not heard of any complaints from the Irish population, adding that it did not know if any Irish people were affected by the restrictions.
“It would be impossible to comment on the issue of this regulation without knowing what people are eating, but there is no doubt that the dairy industry is suffering,” Mr Stitt said.
A statement from the National Farmers Union of Ireland said that “the ban does not take into account the health effects of the ingredients”.
It added that the company had “a duty to provide safe food to our customers, and if there is a risk to the health of the dairy herd it should be addressed as a precautionary measure”.
The Irish Farmers Federation, which represents farmers, said the government’s move was a “shameful failure of public health policy”.
“The Government’s decision to ban milk and dairy products fortified with an antibiotic will not prevent the spread of a deadly, non-toxic disease in the dairy sector,” the organisation’s executive director, Jim Gorman, said.
“We have been working with industry to support them in making sure that their milk and their products are safe, and we will continue to do so.”
The European Food Safety Authority said that it was concerned about the potential impact on Irish dairy farmers.
A spokesperson for the organisation said that the EU’s Food Safety Agency (EFSA) had contacted the Government to request that it clarify whether the ban would prevent milk production in the EU.
“If it does not, we will be consulting with the EFSA and our other partners in order to ensure that we comply with the law,” the spokesperson said.