PCB is for Piggy Chemical Backlash: Friend o"Ethicurean and Plenty columnist Nathalie Jordi has just alerted us to some big news the Digest missed — the massive recall underway (Times Online) of all pork products made in Ireland since September 1. (Read Food Safety Authority of Ireland's release.) Routine testing found the pork was contaminated with dioxins, and recent news updates (AP) indicate that the source is probably industrial oil that made its way into pig feed. While the risk to consumers is low — you'd have to eat a hell of a lot of pork belly and black pudding to be at heightened risk of cancer — the massive precautionary recall comes as really bad news for Ireland's $500 million pork industry, which exports all over the EU and also to Asia. According to the USDA's statistics, the U.S. imports very little pork from Ireland.
8 pm PST Dec. 8 update:
The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that FSAI has traced the problem to machine oil that got into the food being made at one small processor in southeast Ireland, Millstream Power Recycling. The company collects bread and other foodstuffs, removes all paper wrappings and plastic, and cleans it (whatever that means) before placing it in a dryer, whose operation is fueled by a motor run by oil. Apparently they used the wrong oil and it got into the food supplied to the nine pig farms and 38 cattle farms.
The PCB scare has already had a devastating effect for the pork industry, says the BBC. The largest pig processor in the Republic has laid off 850 workers and 650 put on protective notice. Over at Plenty, Nathalie (who's spent a lot of time in Ireland) has posted a good rant about how organic Irish pork shouldn't have been tarred with the same poison brush, and some dirty little secrets of the Irish pork industry.
Image: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision for TimesOnline