January 7, 2011


South Korea bans German pork, poultry shipments



South Korea has successfully stopped imports of German pork and poultry products following the discovery of high levels of dioxin, the government said Thursday (Jan 6).


The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it has confirmed recent media reports that dioxin, a toxic compound that can damage the human immune system and cause cancer, has been detected in pork, poultry meat, eggs and animal feed made in Germany.


Based on the information, it has temporarily suspended all quarantine inspections on new imports, while those already in the country will be checked thoroughly for contamination, the ministry said.


In 2010, South Korea imported 6,266 tonnes of pork and other meat products from the European country, while there are 129 tonnes currently held in storage and waiting inspections.


The ministry said quarantine inspections will be suspended until tangible measures are taken by Berlin to enhance its food safety measures to guard against dioxin contamination. If no quarantine inspections take place, food products cannot reach the local market, it added.


Foreign and local media reported earlier in the week that up to six picogrammes of dioxin were found in a gram of fat from some German pork and poultry products, which is much higher than the 2pg permitted by Seoul.

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