Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dioxin tainted pork & beef "is safe"

Irish farmers maybe facing a tough Christmas this year after it was revealed that some cattle have been tested positive for traces of dioxin. Consumers had already been told to dispose of any pork products from Ireland after they were found to contain high levels of dioxin. And the latest revelation will do little to boost public confidence.

Dioxin is often produced by combustion such as in forest fires and industrial processes. Although people are exposed to dioxins daily, from cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes and bonfires, high levels can be dangerous. There is evidence that dioxins can cause cancer along with other effects on the immune system. In European regulation, dioxins, along with other potentially harmful chemicals called Furans and dioxin-like PCBs [Polychlorinated biphenyl], are reported as a single value known as the total Toxic Equivalent (TEQ). There are 29 chemicals of concern in this class.
Despite finding 53 cattle herds which had been exposed to contaminated feed and at least three that showed signs of dioxin in the animals, the Irish authorities have said the dioxin levels “do not pose a risk to public health” and were not seeking to remove beef products from the shelves. In fact authorities on both sides of the border insisted that pork, beef and milk were safe to eat [BBC].

In Northern Ireland some Irish pork products were already returning to the shelves after being given the all clear. But it remains to be seen if consumers will be as confident as the UK’s Food Standards Authority and Irish Agricultural Ministry. The effects of the crisis have already been felt with over 1,400 pork processing workers having been laid off and Irish pork products have been pulled from shelves in 21 countries [Sky News].
[Article posted in Chinese at Global News Watch]

No comments: