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Pork contamination spreads to Northern Ireland
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08:30, December 10, 2008

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Dioxin contamination has spread beyond the borders of Ireland as contaminated animal feed was also distributed to nine pig farms in Northern Ireland, the European Commission said Tuesday.

"The contaminated feed was delivered, besides 10 pig farms and 38 cattle farms in Ireland, also to nine pig farms in Northern Ireland," said Nina Papadoulaki, a commission spokeswoman.

The contamination was found to be linked to a company which recycles bakery waste, she said. But the pathway of contamination remains to be clarified.

The commission is waiting for information from the British authorities on what measures are being taken concerning the nine pig farms in Northern Ireland. The 10 pig farms and 38 cattle farms in Ireland where contaminated feed had been distributed have been blocked.

The commission has to confirm whether there is a risk that potentially contaminated pork and pork products in Northern Ireland have found their way into other European Union (EU) member states and elsewhere, the spokeswoman said.

EU member states have been urged to block and check all Irish pork and processed pork products after dioxin contamination was detected in the country Saturday.

The commission has also alerted 12 EU member states and nine non-EU economies where Irish pork and its products have been shipped.

The 12 EU countries affected are Belgium, Britain, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The nine non-EU countries and areas are Canada, China, China's Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States.

Although only 10 pig farms were affected by the contamination incident, Irish authorities have decided to recall all pork products produced from pigs slaughtered since Sept. 1 across the country.

The decision was based on the fact that it is not possible to trace back the pork and pork products to the farms affected by the incident.

Investigation is underway on possible bovine meat contamination in the 38 Irish cattle farms. First results are expected later Tuesday, said Papadoulaki.

The use of contaminated animal feed is much more limited in the cattle farms than in the pig farms, the commission has said.


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