Nearly 79,000 pounds of fresh pork products have been recalled by three firms, as the scandal that has led to a blight on the Irish pork industry reaches U.S. shores.
The USDA announced the recalls -- by Rupari Food Services of Deerfield Beach, Fl., Tommy Moloney's Inc. of Long Island City, N.Y., and Dawn International of Acton, Mass. -- late Thursday.
USDA's food safety and inspection service was notified by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland that routine surveillance tests indicated the presence of dioxin in pork products that were sent to multiple importers of record in the United States. USDA "believes the probability of adverse health effects related to consumption of these pork products to be low."
The products recall include:
From Rupari Food Service, 44-pound approximate weight boxes of "ROSDERRA MEATS, ROSCREA, Pork Loin Back Ribs, KEEP FROZEN." The shipping label bears the Irish establishment number "EST NO. 355." These products were sent to restaurants in California.
From Tommy Maloney's, 8-ounce packages of "Tommy Moloney's Traditional Irish Breakfast Bacon, Made from imported Irish Pork." The label bears the establishment number "EST. 33789" inside the U.S. mark of inspection as well as a "sell by" date between "Dec. 15, 2008" and "Jan. 31, 2009." These products were sent to retail stores in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.
From Dawn International, 30-pound cartons of "DAWN PORK & BACON, PORK LOIN BACK RIBS, PRODUCT OF REPUBLIC OF IRELAND." The shipping label bears the Irish mark of inspection "IRELAND 332 EC." These products were shipped to distribution centers in Florida.
The pork products were produced in Ireland between Sept. 1 and Dec. 7, 2008. Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the Irish Embassy representative Dr. Clare Thorp at (202) 716-2369.
Ireland and the European Union on Thursday agreed to a $255 million bailout of Ireland's pork industry, which is reeling because of the dioxin contamination scandal caused a global recall of all pork last weekend.
Dioxins, formed as a byproduct in various chlorine treatment and chemical production processes, are highly toxic at extremely low levels. Dioxins are likely to cause cancer, and can also cause severe skin disease called chloracne. Animal laboratory studies have shown dioxin can cause liver damage, hormonal changes and endocrine system damage, immune system damage, reproductive damage and birth defects, skeletal or kidney problems and -- in high doses -- death.
Most people are exposed to dioxin by eating contaminated food. Dioxin was famously used in a 2004 attempt to kill then-Ukrainian presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko, whose face is forever scarred from the poisoning.
Both Irish and American officials say the levels of dioxin found in Irish pork products, though higher than allowable levels, poses little or no risk. Consumers can decide for themselves.
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