Contaminated Irish pork not imported to Australia: FSANZ

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th December 2008

The Irish Government announced on 6 December 2008 that dioxins had been detected in pork and that it had recalled all pork and pork products as a precautionary measure due to the difficulty in establishing which slaughtered pigs had been fed dioxin contaminated feed. Preliminary advice is that the feed contamination incident started in September this year.

Dioxins are environmental contaminants that may be formed during combustion processes and may be present in industrial wastes. Irish authorities have advised that there is no health risk from short term exposure although long term exposure could cause health concerns.

Since being notified by the Irish Government, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has worked closely with Australian Customs Service and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service who have confirmed that fresh pig meat, bacon or ham from Ireland cannot be imported to Australia either directly from Ireland or through a third country.

However, as a precaution, FSANZ is continuing to liaise with the European Commission and other international agencies about the possibility that processed foods with pork ingredients from Ireland may have been imported to Australia.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has also reported the presence of PCBs in some Irish beef but has not recalled this product as it is not a safety risk. Australia does not import beef products from Ireland because of BSE (mad cow disease) restrictions.