Thursday, December 11, 2008

120 tons of dioxin-tainted pork distributed in Romania

BUCHAREST, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Almost 120 tons of Irish dioxin-tainted pork entered Romania, Vice President of the Sanitary-Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) Laszlo Csutak said on Wednesday.

"It was confirmed that some 40 tons of pork reached a warehouse in Cluj, coming from a France-based company," Czutak said, adding that they were distributed to 37 companies in 24 counties, more than half of the country's 41 counties.

The ANSVSA official also confirmed that 74 tons of pork exported from Hungary to Romania through four companies to the counties of Prahova, Valcea and to the capital city of Bucharest are contaminated with dioxin and originate in Ireland, coming to Romania via Poland.

The 3.6 tons shipped to a Bucharest warehouse by a Belgian company were part of a larger lot of some 20 tons.

ANSVSA is performing checks with all warehouses in the counties where the dioxin contaminated pork arrived and the identified pork will be destroyed. Czutak said that a considerable amount of the pork already reached the food retailer chains of Bucharest as well as nearby counties of Ilfov and Teleorman.

The European Commission announced on Monday that 11 EU member states had imported pork from Ireland with a dioxin content higher than the upper accepted limit, but Romania was not among them.

However, the EC on Tuesday notified Romania that it had received a pork shipment from a Belgian company that directly imported from Ireland 3.6 tons of dioxin-contaminated pork and the merchandise reached a deep-freeze warehouse in Bucharest.

The Irish government on Saturday ordered the recall of contaminated pork products made since Sept. 1, some of which reached France and Belgium. The Irish authorities advised the destruction of all such products. Germany, Britain and Sweden also went on alert, recommending the withdrawal of these products from shelves.

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