Dioxins in Irish pork causes food scare in Britain

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A food scare in Britain involving pork from Ireland has forced all major supermarkets to remove all Irish pork products from their shelves because of concerns they may contain toxic dioxins.

Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) says tests on pork sourced from the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland have revealed the possible contamination with potentially cancer-causing dioxins.

The FSA says the measure is a precaution until they have more information but they have warned consumers to avoid pork products from the region.

The dioxins were discovered in slaughtered pigs believed to have eaten contaminated feed and the Irish government has ordered all pig meat products made in the Republic of Ireland since September 1st to be withdrawn.

Investigations have revealed that breadcrumbs used in animal feed tested positive for non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are banned - the feed was made using breadcrumbs from recycled bread and dough and was used at 47 different farms, including 37 beef farms, but it has not yet been necessary to withdraw the beef products.

Britain is a major importer of pork from Ireland and Japan, Germany, Russia, France and the United States also import Irish pork - contaminated Irish pork has been found in France and Belgium and Germany has also removed all Irish pork products off shelves as a precautionary measure.

Swedish authorities have advised consumers to avoid products containing Irish pork until further notice and the European Commission says it is closely monitoring the situation.

The source of the contamination is suspected to have been industrial oil and nine farms in Northern Ireland are thought to have used the contaminated animal feed.

The FSA says there is no significant risk to consumers as adverse health effects from eating affected products are only likely if people are exposed to relatively high levels of the contaminant for long periods.


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