American Shipper

Irish pork contamination threatens exports

Irish pork contamination threatens exports

The European Union on Thursday pledged 15 million euros ($20 million) to help Irish pork producers recover from a pork contamination scare that threatens Ireland’s $570 million industry, largely built on exports to Europe and Asia.

   Ireland last weekend ordered the recall or destruction of all pork products after dioxin, a dangerous chemical, was discovered in pigs at 10 farms. The dioxin has been traced back to the feed the animals ate.

   Processors had refused to slaughter 10,000 pigs at the impacted farms without government support.

   The Irish government said it would provide 180 million euros ($235 million) of aid to major pork processing plants. The EU grant is to help cover the storage of pork for up to six months to wait for the market to recover for sale.

   Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore all announced import bans on Irish pork early this week. Irish, British and EU officials insisted the dioxin levels in the pigs were too low to cause any cancer risk to humans.

   Six main pig processing plants reopened their killing lines on Thursday and Irish pork was returned to store shelves for sale, according to the Irish Times.

   Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith also flew to France to repair consumer confidence their after widespread media coverage began denting pork orders and two major retailers threatened to stop purchases of Irish food.

   In the United Kingdom, Irish pork is being allowed for sale if shops and manufacturers can trace the pork products back to a farm unaffected by the contaminated feed, according to the Guardian. ' Eric Kulisch