South Africa's Department of Agriculture announced Thursday it was
suspending imports of all meat and dairy products from the European
Union due to the discovery of dioxin in Irish meat products.
"Due to concerns regarding 'soft borders' within the EU and the wide
distribution of animal feed between EU member states, a decision has
been taken to suspend all imports of meat and dairy products and other
edible animal products (including pet food) from the EU to South
Africa," the department said in a statement.
Dioxins have been found in Irish pig meat and animal feed produced
in Ireland. The European Union's food safety authority said Wednesday that the
dioxin contamination in Irish pork probably posed no health risk to
humans who ate the product. The South African statement said all Irish pork and bacon from pigs slaughtered after September 1 would be recalled.
"This cut-off date will also apply to meat and dairy products exported from other EU
member states to South Africa," the statement added. Shipments en route or currently at inspection sites would be dealt with individually, it said.
"Meat and dairy products that have been put on the water after 12th December 2008 will be rejected and returned to the country of origin, irrespective of the slaughter or production dates," the department warned. South Africa would re-evaluate the ban "once the source and the extent of the dioxin contamination are known." – (Sapa, December 2008)
Irish food scare spreads to cattle