The Irish government this week recalled all pork products from pigs slaughtered in the country after testing revealed high levels of dioxin in animal feed and pork fat samples. Authorities have thus far linked the carcinogen to 10 pig farms that received feed from Millstream Power Recycling Limited, a Carlow company which reprocesses foodstuffs to make livestock meal. In addition, Ireland’s Department of Agriculture has placed 45 cattle farms under restrictions because they may have received feed potentially contaminated with dioxins. Health officials stated that three cattle herds of 11 tested had “technically non-compliant” dioxin levels, but stressed that there is “no public health concern”
with regard to Irish beef. The government has also declared 490 pig farms “dioxin-free,” although the prohibition on the sale of domestic pork products has remained in effect. See CNN, December 8 and 9, 2008; The Associated Press, December 9, 2008.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has apparently denied emergency funds to compensate Irish pig farmers and pork processors encompassed by the widespread recall. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), however, released a safety assessment finding “no concern” about “the most likely scenario” in which “someone ate an average amount of Irish pork each day throughout the period of the
incident (90 days), 10 percent of which was contaminated at the highest recorded concentration of dioxins.” Moreover, EFSA concluded, the most extreme scenario would “not necessarily lead to adverse health effects,” even if “someone ate a large amount of Irish pork each day throughout the period of the incident (90 days), 100 percent of which was contaminated at the highest recorded concentration of dioxins.” See EFSA Press Release, December 10, 2008; The Irish Times, December 10, 2008.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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