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Dioxins: Irish pork contamination sees five arrested

12 January 2011

A 2008 food scare over Irish pork saw pig products being withdrawn from EU supermarkets, costing pig producers about £83m. Now four men have been arrested in Northern Ireland and another in Ireland in connection with the scare.

The crisis began when meal on nine farms was found to have between 80-200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limits.

The dioxin, which can affect the liver and nervous system, is dangerous only if a person is exposed to it over a long period of time. The contamination was at the time traced back to an ingredient in an animal feed which was used by one supplier in more than 40 farms.

The Food Standards Agency said at the time: "From the information that we have at this time, we do not believe there is significant risk to UK consumers as adverse health effects from eating the affected products are only likely if people are exposed to relatively high levels of this contaminant for long periods."

The dioxin, which can affect the liver and nervous system, is dangerous only if a person is exposed to it over a long period of time. The contamination was at the time traced back to an ingredient in an animal feed which was used by one supplier in more than 40 farms.
The four arrests in Northern Ireland was of men aged between 25-43, and took place in counties Armagh and Tyrone. Another man in his 50s was arrested in Monaghan in the Irish Republic.

The finger of blame appeared to be pointed last month at O'Neill Fuels in County Tyrone, which was told to cough up £32m in damages to Millstream Power Recycling from County Wexford, in the Irish Republic.

However, O'Neill fuels denied fuel supplied by it had contained dioxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls, (PCBs) because these had been banned in the 1970s.

Dioxins have been in the headlines recently because of egg products which may have entered the UK via a processing plant in The Netherlands.


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