The Republic of Ireland has announced that beef from cattle that have eaten feed contaminated with dioxins is being withdrawn. Animals from affected herds and associated carcasses have been held on the relevant farms and at meat processing plants pending results from dioxin tests.
The results from these tests, carried out by authorities in ROI, show that dioxins exceed permitted levels. Therefore, while the risk to human health is likely to be low, this meat will be withdrawn from the market.
Dioxins are chemicals that get into food from the environment and are associated with a range of health effects when there is a long-term exposure to them at relatively high levels.
The UK will continue to work with local authorities, the wider enforcement community and EU member states to protect UK consumers.
The number of animals affected in this incident represents less than 1% of ROI’s national herd. The majority of the meat from these animals has been held, but a small amount of affected meat may have entered the UK food chain. This meat is likely to have reached consumers but the risk to human health from consuming this is very low.
The FSA continues to investigate the issue of contaminated feed in the UK and the focus is now on a small number of cattle herds in Northern Ireland. All such cattle herds and associated carcasses remain on hold and will not be permitted to enter the food chain unless full dioxin test results show that dioxin levels are within legal limits.
Results from dioxin tests are expected early next week. In the interim, restrictions will remain in place until the FSA is fully satisfied that meat from these animals can be placed on the market.
Farmers and all involved in industry are acting responsibly and fully cooperating with the authorities
Source: Food Standards Agency
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