An Irish Food Authority (IFA) ban on a synthetic chemical known as DAP-4 has been upheld by the High Court, a landmark ruling that could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s supply chain.
The Irish Government is also seeking a review of its ban on DAP4.
A ruling in the High Courts has been referred to a full hearing at the Court of Appeal.
The IFA, which regulates food, drink and cosmetic products, had been seeking to ban the chemical DAP, which is used in hair and fur manufacturing, as it has the potential to “lead to toxicological, economic and other adverse effects”.
In its ruling, the High Commission for Ireland (HCI) found that DAP “has no place in the food chain”, as it was “generally associated with a poor quality of life”.
“This chemical is widely used in the processing of fur, and is an important component of the fur trade, with a high level of international use,” it said.
The HCI noted that it was concerned about the use of the chemical, and that “the use of this chemical is increasing as a result of the use in the fur industry”.
The decision comes as the Irish Government attempts to renegotiate its import restrictions on fur imports.
The Irish Food Industry Association (IFAIA) has called for the moratorium on Dap4 to be lifted, saying it could “threaten our supply chain”.
In a statement, the IFAIA said it was now seeking an appeal against the HCI’s decision.
“We are now calling for the Irish government to reconsider its decision and lift the moratorium and ensure we are not further affected by the use and impact of this potentially toxic substance,” said the IAFIA.
It added that the ban on the chemical “threatens the livelihoods of thousands of farmers who rely on this industry to support their livelihoods and is damaging to Ireland’s economy”.
A ban on synthetic chemicals is not new, but it is the first time that a ban has been overturned.
In 2015, the European Commission banned the use on food and drink of the synthetic substance bisphenol A, which was linked to cancer.
The ban was lifted in October last year.
The HCI has since said that the IAPC has taken steps to minimise the impact of the ban, which includes using DAP in hair production.
“The IAPCC has a plan in place to reduce the use, and therefore the impact, of the banned substance and to ensure that there is a level playing field for all parties in the industry,” it added.
“As part of this, it is working with the industry to ensure the safe use of synthetic compounds.”
The Irish Government has said that it is in discussions with the IAC to consider the ICA’s review of the IBA ban.