Tyrone Link In PCB Contamination Probed

There's a cross-border probe underway today as the police in Northern Ireland help gardaí investigate apparent contamination of animal feed which sparked a major health alert over Irish pork products - and later cast a shadow over beef products too.

High PCB levels of dioxins discovered in pigs have suggested that the type of oil used in a burner at the facility at the centre of the crisis in Co Carlow - which converts food products into animal feed was "inappropriate".

One line of investigation is probing oil being sourced from a facility in Co Tyrone that may have then ended up in the meal at the centre of the crisis.

The crisis began on Sunday and saw Irish pork taken off the shelves and products from the Republic being recalled.

However, Northern Ireland pork production has since resumed and the consumption of pork - and even 'suspect' beef and milk from Northern Ireland - has been declared safe by the Northern Ireland Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.

Just nine cattle herds in Northern Ireland had consumed the feed and the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said because of the differences in the digestive system of cows and pigs, the risk of contamination in beef was much lower than had been feared in relation to pork.

The Irish government said three herds had tested positive for dioxins but there was no risk to health and the Republic of Ireland Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith said the levels of dioxins found in the beef involved were two to three times above safe limits, compared with a massive 200 times for the pig meat.

Yesterday, in the Assembly, Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew said she was delighted that the FSA has advised that there is no risk from pork or pork products containing only local pork meat and said that processing had resumed at Northern Ireland pork factories.

"I would like consumers to have a clear message on behalf of the Executive: there is no risk from pork or pork products and we look forward to having local pigmeat back on shelves and on tables this week," she said.

"My officials also found that a number of herds containing cattle had received and been fed product from the affected Southern supplier. Samples were taken of this product, and are being tested. I anticipate the results later this week, but consumers can be confident that beef entering the food chain is safe," she confirmed.

The Minister for Health, Michael McGimpsey said: "With regard to dairy products, one farm has been identified as having fed contaminated feed to dairy cattle. All milk from this farm has now been prevented from entering the food chain. All previous supplies of milk from this farm were sent to a single purchaser in the Republic of Ireland.

"The FSA has advised me that, at this point in time, they have no evidence to suggest that consumers should stop eating beef. FSA has also advised that it is safe to drink milk," he concluded.


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 December 2008
Scare Sees Irish Pork Banned In Asia
The Irish pork scare has prompted Japan and Singapore to suspend Irish pork imports, following similar moves by the UK and much of Europe.
28 February 2024
Gaming Business Ideas To Start In Ireland
Are you passionate about gaming and considering turning your hobby into a profitable business in Ireland? You're in luck! The gaming industry is booming, and many opportunities are waiting for you. Here are ten gaming business ideas that could be your ticket to success in this exciting field. 1.
14 February 2013
Rangeland Foods Burgers Withdrawn
A batch of burger products, produced by a Co Monaghan meat processing factory, have been withdrawn after they were found to contain 5%-30% horse meat. Produced by Rangeland Foods the burgers had been sold to the catering and wholesale sectors and had been distributed around Ireland, the UK, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
09 December 2008
Oil Blamed For Feed Scare
What has been described as 'unlicensed oil' being utilised at an animal feed factory was blamed this week for the international food scare that has threatened thousands of jobs and will result in the destruction of 100,000 pigs.
12 March 2024
How Much Gambling Takes Place in Ireland?
When we think of Ireland, we may think of many things ranging from lush green landscapes to Guinness and Irish dancing, but it may be surprising to learn that the country has a passion for gambling.