December 10, 2008


Ireland food safety agency says no need to recall Irish beef from market



The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) on Tuesday (December 9) said there was no need to remove Irish beef from the market even though several herds of cattle had eaten animal feed that led Irish authorities to remove all contaminated pork products from the market.


FSAI concluded that the level of a toxic chemical compound found called a PCB marker in the cattle poses an "extremely low risk to public health," and therefore did not require all beef products to be recalled.


But the regulator did impose a restriction on the 45 farms that used the contaminated feed and said that "all animals in herds shown to be above the proposed legal limit will be taken out of the food chain. Furthermore any products from these herds will not be released onto the market."


Alan Reilly, deputy chief executive of the FSAI, said the results from testing show that the samples taken from cattle had a much lower level of incidence of toxic contamination than the pork samples.


Pork samples were deemed to be between 80-200 times the legal limit for dioxins, a chemical compound that causes cancer if consumed in high doses. Meanwhile the beef samples assessed Tuesday were just two to three times above the proposed new EU guidelines limit for PCBs, a chemical compound which can be used as a preliminary indicator to determine whether food has been potentially contaminated with toxic chemicals such as dioxins. The preliminary indicator is not bullet-proof; the FSAI will continue testing for dioxins.


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