Irish Republican News · December 7, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Major Irish food health scare
Major Irish food health scare

All pork products originating in the 26 Counties since September have been declared a health hazard by the Dublin government, which has ordered that all of it be recalled and destroyed.

The discovery of cancer-causing dioxins in meat products has led to the unprecedented step. Consumers were last night warned not to consume any pork or bacon until such time as they are declared safe.

The discovery of the dioxin PCB in some pork was at levels between 80 and 200 times the safe limits. The recall involves retailers, restaurants and pig processors.

All 26-County pork products in Ireland and abroad are today being removed from supermarket shelves. The recall includes pork and bacon, sausages, rashers, black and white pudding and a whole range of food additives and ingredients such as pizza toppings.

There has been no word from the Six County administration regarding the situation there, but it is understood that pork products from the North are considered safe.

Thousands of pigs will be slaughtered and destroyed on 10 pig farms mostly in Munster. Another 38 beef farms will also be restricted but the stock will not be destroyed.

It is a devastating blow to the 26-County agriculture, food industry and the overall economy. However, the government claimed that the recall will be completed by tomorrow and that fresh product from uncontaminated sources will be in shops by the middle of the week.

Members of the public have been urged to remove all pork produce from their fridges and to dispose of it or seek a refund.

At an emergency press conference held last night in which Dublin’s Health Minister Mary Harney and Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith admitted the seriousness of the situation.

Ms Harney insisted her government had moved as quickly as possible to bring the facts of the issue to the public.

It was not immediately revealed which animal feed was the source of the problem. While the recall is total within the 26 County area, some 390 pig producers reportedly not supplied with the feed are planning to have their products declared safe within a matter of days.

At the press conference, Alan Reilly of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said that the outer packaging of the unnamed feed products may have reacted with other chemicals to form the dangerous dioxins.

Dioxins are contaminants that may be formed during industrial processes. It is illegal for dioxins at certain levels to be in food products. Exposure to them can lead to serious illness or death.

Questions remain over how long ago the problem was first detected and why normal safeguards and quality controls proved ineffective.

The recall has been desccribed as a “total disaster” by the Irish farming organisations.

The 26-County pig industry is worth about 400 million Euros a year with the farmers concentrated in Border counties and in Cork. Almost half of the produce is sold in the Six Counties, to Britain or overseas.

© 2008 Irish Republican News