Houston- we have a problem

 An open letter to Colin Houston of the Food Standards agency, Chairman of the CHaIRS group.

Dear Mr Houston

Ref OPEN LETTER CHaIRS group meetings reporting of incidents involving white phosphorus poisoned birds

As Chairman of this group I am writing to you concerning what appears to be an omission of information, which should be considered as an important update on the matter referred to at previous CHaIrs meetings as “The Rhodia incident”.

As the individual who is solely responsible for drawing the authorities notice to this site, the wildfowl deaths, and my subsequent correctly identified hypothesis that white phosphorus present in sediment at this hazardous waste site was poisoning wildfowl landing on it, I am writing to ask why it appears that a key update from Jo Payne of the AHVLA appears to have not been recorded in the published minutes of CHaIRS group meeting of December 2011.


I was assured by Mr Ian Davies of the AHVLA that the confirmation of “systemic exposure” to a Canada goose (see enclosed confirmation from Jo Payne) would be referred to the CHaIRS group meeting.

I am therefore asking you if it was, and if so why it was not recorded in the minutes. I would like this matter amended and confirmed at the earliest next meeting.

Although I am aware of the FSA view that this incident is not food related, and that the EA are acting as the “leading” agency on this matter, I do see this as a significant update, especially given that white phosphorus has in the past presented potential problems in the food chain. I refer you to our website concerning this toxic waste site where you can read more.

The following confirms “systemic exposure” in birds found dead at Rattlechain lagoon.


The following page confirms white phosphorus poisoning of animals is nothing new.



I also enclose a table of p4 tested wildfowl to date, all 12 confirming exposure to the highly toxic chemical. It also shows the significant delays in testing for this evanescent chemical- part of the problem for not confirming “systemic exposure”.

New Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet

This isn’t another freedom of information request, but given the recent food scares regarding fraudulent labelling of meat, could I ask if the FSA ever routinely tests or has ever tested chicken/game products for DNA of wildfowl being present? The nationwide reporting of “missing wildfowl” as well as lower fish stocks across the country has been highlighted many times.  Or is this the next chapter of food scares to be unveiled when the time is right?

I would be grateful therefore if you could request further information on the non reporting of updates on the Rattlechain issue and also place this open letter with the minutes to all members. You will note that the reference to the Eagle River Flats studies at the end of the AHVLA statement is literature cited by us with the original theory that p4 poisoning was to blame for mortality on this lake. The scientists from the US whom we had already consulted on this, and believed that the deaths were consistent with white phosphorus poisoning have been extremely helpful in this matter, knowledgeable on the subject and rich in practical experience.

NB This letter and any subsequent reply will be placed on our website.

Yours sincerely

Ian Carroll Sandwell swanwatch.


Post mortem report for Canada goose







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