December 9, 2008
China bans Irish pork imports following dioxin scare

China on Monday (December 8) suspended the import of pork products from Ireland after the discovery of toxic chemicals in Irish pigs and announced increased inspections of other imported European foods.

"In accordance with a China-Ireland bilateral agreement, we have provisionally stopped the direct and indirect import of Irish pork products and livestock feed," the General Administration of Quality Inspection and Quarantine said.

"Secondly we have recalled and returned Irish pork products that were produced after September 1," it said, in a notice on the administration's Web site.

Ireland on Saturday said it was recalling all pork products made in the country after the discovery of dioxins, which can cause cancer, in slaughtered pigs.

Ireland is a major exporter of pork, with Britain by far the biggest market, followed by Germany, France, Russia and Japan.

The administration also said it was intensifying inspections of a series of imported European food items for other unrelated quality concerns.

Quality problems were discovered in Italian brandy, seasoning sauce from Great Britain, Spanish dairy products and Belgian chocolate, the administration said in a separate notice.

Stepped up quality inspections on the listed products would continue for 90 days from Dec. 6, it said.

Products that were discovered to have quality problems were destroyed or returned and the relevant departments on the European side have been notified, it said.

None of the brand names of the products were listed.

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