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'Pork health risks minimal'
[Posted: Mon 08/12/2008 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Over 2,000 people have already called the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s helpline following the withdrawal of all Irish pork products on Saturday.
The FSAI ordered the withdrawal and recall of all pork products dating back to September 1 after tests carried out on animal feed and pork fat samples confirmed the presence of the potentially dangerous dioxin, PCB.
PCBs are extremely dangerous man-made chemicals that were banned in 1979. They affect the immune and reproductive systems. There is also evidence to suggest that exposure to such dioxins at very high levels, e.g. following industrial accidents, can cause cancer.
However while the FSAI reiterated its advice to consumers not to consume any Irish pork or bacon products, it stressed that people should not be alarmed or concerned in relation to the potential risks from dioxins found in pork products.
“A short term peak exposure to dioxins and PCBs does not result in adverse health effects,” it said.
The newly-appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, said adverse health effects from exposure to contaminated pork products were not anticipated.
He said a number of studies done in Belgium since a dioxin scare there in the late 1990s had not found any negative effects on the population.
One of those studies, on dioxin levels in the blood of blood donors in Belgium before and after the 1999 dioxin contamination incident in that country, found that the dioxin contamination of food products did not lead to any adverse public health effect.
The study found that although evidence of the contamination was traceable in the blood of donors, the changes were too small to cause health problems.
Dioxin was introduced into the Belgian food supply in the spring of 1999 via contamination of animal fat used in animal feeds supplied to farms. High levels of dioxin were found in meat products as well as in eggs.
The Belgian Government came in for strong criticism at the time for how it handled the outbreak, and two Government ministers had to resign. The main criticism against the Government is that it did not promptly tell the public about the contamination.
According to the FSAI, the use of a contaminated ingredient added to pork feed was identified as the source of the contamination and this feed was provided to 10 Irish farms, which produce approximately 10% of the total supply of pigs in Ireland.
It is understood that the contaminated feed originated in a food recycling plant in Carlow.
A number of countries have now suspended the import and sale of Irish pork products, including the UK and Japan. Ireland’s pig industry is worth €400 million per year, with exports accounting for about €250 million of this.
Speaking on RTE radio meanwhile, Aidan Cotter, the chief executive of Bord Bia, explained that when processing resumes, Irish pigmeat will carry a new label saying it was produced after December 7 and is therefore unaffected by the current product recall.
According to the FSAI, all raw and cooked pork and bacon products could possibly be contaminated.
It is advisable not to eat any of the products that may be contaminated.
Products not included are:
The public has been advised to dispose of or return all pork products they have purchased since September 1. The National Consumer Agency has said consumers are entitled to be refunded on pork products they return.
More consumer information is available from the FSAI at…
For more information on dioxins see...
|SCEPTIC Posted: 03/02/2011 18:44|
Isn't it true that eating pork can lead to some serious and long-term health problems? For example the tape worm found in pork not properly cooked can get into the human brain, unlike the tapeworms found in mutton and beef. Isn't it time the medical profession conducted thorough medical research and produced a report on the consequences of eating pork? Or is the pork producing lobby too powerful to take on?
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