December 6, 2008 / 8:46 PM / 11 years ago

Ireland recalls pork over dioxin contamination

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The Irish government ordered the food industry on Saturday to recall all domestically-produced pork products because of contamination with cancer-causing dioxin.

Ireland exported 368 million euros ($467 million) worth of pig meat in 2007, half of it to Britain, according to industry body Food and Drink Industry Ireland.

“This recall involves retailers, the hospitality sector and the Irish pig processing sector,” the government said in a statement. “Preliminary evidence indicates that the contamination problem is likely to have started in September 2008.”

Ireland had almost 1.5 million pigs as of June, the Central Statistics Office said.

Bacon and sausages can be found on most Irish breakfast tables while ham is a traditional food around Christmas.

Dioxins are contaminants that may be formed during combustion processes and can be present in industrial wastes, the government said.

Laboratory results of animal feed and pork fat samples obtained on Saturday confirmed the presence of dioxins, it said, with toxins at 80-200 times the safe limits.

The Irish Farmers’ Association said the few affected farms had been isolated and the recall was a precautionary measure as the vast majority of products on the market were safe.

Fresh meat products from the unaffected farms will come on the market soon, IFA President Padraig Walshe said.

“There will be perfectly safe pig meat on sale to consumers I expect from the middle of the week,” Walshe told public broadcaster RTE.

Editing by Matthew Jones

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