Ita Kinahan

State Chemist, The State Laboratory, Ireland

The State Laboratory is a scheduled office under the aegis of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform which provides a comprehensive analytical and advisory service to Government departments and offices, thereby enabling them to implement and formulate the technical aspects of national and EU legislation.

The State Laboratory undertakes chemical analyses for a variety of different purposes which include monitoring the quality and safety of Irish food and prosecuting fraud e.g. illegal use or laundering of marked diesel, sale of counterfeit spirits or possession of illegal medicines. Analyses for the presence of alcohol and drugs assist the Coroners to determine the cause of deaths, e.g. in cases of alcohol / drug overdoses, while, in the Customs area, analysis can show whether additional duties or fines may be payable.

Staff are actively involved in EU and international analytical affairs and the State Chemist has enforcement and referee status under various Acts of the Oireachtas and their implementing regulations. The Laboratory provides representation for client Government Departments at EU meetings.

The State Laboratory is a designated EU National Reference Laboratory for residues of a wide range of veterinary medicines in food of animal origin; for additives for use in animal nutrition; for dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and for mycotoxins and heavy metals in animal feed. It has also been designated as the responsible Irish body for traceability of measurement in chemical metrology and bio-analysis.