December 11, 2008
Used oil may have caused Irish pork crisis
Used oil from electrical transformers was suspected to have caused dioxin contamination in animal feed that has led to an international recall of Irish pork products.
The Irish Times daily reported that contamination may have been caused by waste oil originating in Northern Ireland that should have been stored or destroyed.
Ireland's farm ministry as well as its environmental agency declined to comment regarding the contamination.
In a statement, Ireland's chief veterinary officer Paddy Rogan confirmed that Irish beef is safe and can continue to be traded normally on both domestic and export markets.
Worries for Ireland's pig meat industry have increased as processors have refused to reopen their slaughterhouses until they get compensation for the loss of trade.
Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen told deputies during a parliamentary debate that he remains confident of achieving an outcome that will facilitate the early resumption of processing and pork production.
Irish Farmers Association's pigs committee head Tim Cullinan said stocks were building up on farms, having to move 50,000 to 60,000 pigs into the processing plants on a weekly basis.
Cullinan also said they are in a dilemma because the committee wants their business to continue even if farmers have momentarily backed out from their farms.
Earlier this week, more than 20 countries cleared their shelves of Irish pork after dioxins up to 200 times the legal levels were found on 10 pig farms.