Irish government orders recall of all pork products

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Irish government has ordered the recall of all pig products processed in the Republic since 1st September, following the discovery of extremely high levels of dioxins in slaughtered pigs which are thought to have eaten contaminated feed.

The Food Standards Agency of Ireland revealed that tests have shown that pork products from several farms contained over two hundred times more dioxin than the accepted safe limit. Food safety officials are investigating an animal-feeds factory in south-eastern Ireland which is thought to be the source of the contamination. It is thought that one cause of the contamination may have been the use of out-of-date bread which did not have its plastic wrapping removed before being processed into animal feed.

Northern Ireland's Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew, said that restrictions were placed on nine farms in Northern Ireland on Friday, which had used the same source of animal feed. Northern Irish agriculture department officials have been in close contact with the Republic's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (DAFF) as the situation has developed. The British Food Standards Agency has advised British consumers not to eat pork or products such as pork sausages, bacon, salami or ham, from either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, but expressed the view that there is no significant immediate health risk as exposure to dioxin has to be at a high level for a prolonged time to be dangerous.

Ireland exported 368 million worth of pigmeat products in 2007, half of it to Britain.

The Irish Association of Pigmeat Producers said that ten farms in the Republic had been affected, responsible for less than ten percent of total production, and that the recall was a precautionary move.