August 19, 2013
USDA expands Chilean chicken recall on dioxin fears
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has expanded the total amount of chicken products being recalled by the Chilean Ministry of Health on dioxin fears.
FSIS instructed importers to hold chicken products after official notification from the government of Chile of the positive result for dioxin; these products are then to be presented for re-inspection. According to FSIS, 343,637 pounds of chicken may be affected --155,595 pounds is currently being held.
However, FSIS conducted an analysis of the Chilean test results and determined that the risk to consumers is negligible. Dioxins are a group of compounds that form naturally during forest fires, as well as from industrial emissions and burning trash. They are incorporated into plants and are potentially eaten by animals where they become concentrated in animal fat. People are exposed to low levels of dioxins through their diet with lesser exposure from air and soil. At very high doses for a prolonged period, dioxins can have adverse health effects. FSIS said that exposure to dioxin in the product is low and does not pose a health threat.
The agency has determined through effectiveness checks that 188,042 pounds of product was distributed to federal establishments for further processing, a distributor and retail locations in Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.
Overseeing the recall activities and investigations in Chile is the Chilean Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture. FSIS continues to verify through effectiveness checks that all receivers of affected product from the Chilean-initiated recall have been notified and have removed product from commerce. FSIS states it will take appropriate action if prohibited activity is found.
Based on information provided by the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, FSIS believes recent poultry shipments from Chile contain dioxin. Because suspect product has been recalled, they are unfit for consumption. As a result, all products produced at San Vicente establishment [Chilean establishment 0608] on May 30, 2013 and June 12, 2013 are considered adulterated and should be destroyed.
FSIS explained it has issued this public notification to make the public aware of the situation. FSIS is not announcing a recall at this time because the establishment most directly associated with producing the adulterated product has recalled product; USDA works with its counterparts to conduct effectiveness checks in the US.