August 18, 2008


More pork factories in Chile quarantined for dioxin traces


Chile's Health Ministry quarantined four more pork factories last week after Canadian health officials confirmed high levels of the carcinogenic chemical dioxin in their pork meat products.


The announcement on Thursday (August 14, 2008) means the number of Chilean pork factory quarantines has risen to ten.


Public Health Undersecretary Jeannette Vega confirmed that all infected meat will be destroyed, which includes culling of live pigs testing positive for higher than normal dioxin levels.


In early July, South Korea detected higher than permitted levels of dioxin in a package of imported Chilean pork and eliminated the rest of the packages received before banning Chilean pork imports thereafter.


Dioxin is measured in the pig's fat by picograms, which is one trillionth of a gram. For pig meat to pass South Korean health standards, it must not contain more than 2 picograms.


In one factory that was later quarantined, health officials found 36.7 picograms of dioxin in pig fat, a figure more than 1,800 percent above South Korean health standards.


In late July, Japan also declared a temporary suspension of Chilean pork imports due to the South Korean incident.


Japan accounted for one-third of all Chilean pork exported in 2007.

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