July 24, 2008


South Korea orders recall of tainted Chilean pork

South Korea has issued a recall of Chilean pork that may have been dioxin-tainted after finding a package with higher than permitted level of the toxic compound, according to the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) on Wednesday (July 23, 2008).


The recall was issued to prevent the pork from reaching the market. Five teams have been set up to oversee the recall and businesses that failed to comply could face serious administrative action, NVRQS said.


Detailed tests conducted on a package containing 25.9 tonnes of Chilean meat revealed the presence of 2.3-15 picogram of dioxin. South Korea's limit for the cancerous substance is set at 2-picogram, with one picogram equivalent to one trillionth of a gram.


The agency said the package is the second from the 06-03 designated exporter that shipped dioxin-contaminated pork early this month. As other packages from the exporter could also be tainted, the agency has ordered the local importer to destroy all 78.8 tonnes of imported pork that came along with the contaminated package, a NVRQS official said.


South Korea has found two separate shipments of dioxin-contaminated pork earlier this month, with the consignments coming from the 06-03 and 06-17 designated exporters. All shipments from the two Chilean exporters are held in storage and imports from them have been suspended.


A NVRQS official explained that the package detected this time is not a new import as it arrived before the import ban went into effect. There are currently 210 tonnes of pork imported from the two Chilean companies.


South Korea's agriculture ministry has started inspections of all Chilean pork imports to ensure that tainted meat do not reach consumers.


Chile is the second largest pork exporter to South Korea after the US.

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