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Dioxin prompts Irish meat recall

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Dublin (Reuters)

Irish Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith said last Tuesday illegally high levels of dioxins had been found in three of 11 cattle herds tested.

“Three out of the 11 herds are above the proposed legislated limits,” Smith told a news conference. “We are satisfied there is no public health risk.”

He said the contaminated animals would be taken out of the food chain.

The discovery of dioxins in cattle followed a massive recall of pork believed to have been contaminated by dioxins in feed. Officials said the contamination was caused when non-food grade oil was used as fuel to dry waste food, which was then turned into animal feed.

Food Safety Authority of Ireland official Alan Reilly said beef products would not be recalled from the market.

“The levels found in pork were 80 to 200 times the legal levels, but in the case of the beef the levels were two to three times the legal limit,” he told the news conference.

“For these things to be a risk it has to be long term exposure and the exposure here is very short term.”

The Irish government ordered the food industry to recall all domestically produced pork products from shops, restaurants and plants because of contamination with dioxins, which in some forms and with long exposure can cause cancer.

The European Commission said contaminated Irish pork had been shipped to 21 countries and territories, including Britain, France and Germany within the EU, and Japan, Russia, China and Canada and the United States outside the trading bloc.

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