Ireland issued an international warning last night for people not to consume Irish-produced pork products because they could contain dangerous levels of contaminents.
The Dublin authorities ordered the dramatic recall of items including bacon, ham, sausages and even pizzas with ham toppings, after Ireland's food watchdog revealed that pork products on a number of farms had up to 200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limit.
Animal feed contaminated with the harmful toxins is thought to have infected pig products, including foods sold across Ireland and exported to the UK. The contamination has been traced back to an ingredient in an animal feed from one supplier used on 47 different farms.
Chronic long-term exposure to dioxins can have serious health effects, including causing cancers, although the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said the recall will ensure consumers only had minimum exposure to the toxin.
Consumers and retailers were told to destroy all Irish pork and bacon products bought since 1 September.
A spokesman for the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it was waiting for the Irish authorities to confirm if any affected products had been distributed to the UK. But he insisted the agency did not believe British consumers were at "significant" risk.
"The Agency will assess information as it becomes available in order to identify if any specific action is required to protect UK consumers," the FSA said in a statement. "We do not believe there will be a significant risk to UK consumers."
A Tesco spokeswoman said the supermarket did not import any fresh pork from the Republic of Ireland. "We do not believe it is contained in any other products, but we are checking as a matter of urgency. If any product is found to contain Irish pork, we will, of course, remove it from sale."
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