News last update:7 Aug 2012

Dioxin cattle culled in Ireland

Cattle on 21 farms will be slaughtered over dioxin levels in Ireland.

The samples were found to be positive for marker polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and further tests found that the dioxin levels were higher than the results from the recent controversial pork samples.

However, while the cattle implicated will have to be slaughtered and the dioxin levels exceeded the legal limit, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said the risk to public health was extremely low.

"The risk assessment carried out by the FSAI indicates that, based on food consumption data, the exposure from beef is 300 times lower than that posed by the pork contamination," a FSAI spokesman said.

"Therefore, consumers should have no concerns in relation to health risks and retailers are not required to take any action."

Farms that could have potentially used contaminated feed have been restricted since December 5, and the Department of Agriculture confirmed 21 out of 120,000 cattle farms here had received the implicated animal feed.

Meanwhile, EU member states backed a disposal scheme for animals locked down on farms that have used contaminated feed, as well as for certain pig meat stocks held in, or still owned by, slaughterhouses.

The EU will co-finance the purchases at an average rate of 50%.

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