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Gildernew updates Assembly on contaminated feed issue

9 December, 2008


In answer to a Priority Notice question in the Assembly today, Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew has said that the FSA has advised that there is no risk from pork or pork products containing only pork from the North and processing has now resumed at our pork factories.

Michelle Gildernew said:

"I am delighted that the FSA has advised that there is no risk from pork or pork products containing only pork from the North and processing has now resumed at our pork factories. I would like consumers to have a clear message on behalf of the Executive: there is no risk from pork or pork products from pigs born and raised in the North and we look forward to having local pigmeat back on shelves and on tables this week.

"My officials also found that a number of herds containing cattle had received and been fed product from the affected Southern supplier. Samples were taken of this product, where it was available, and are being tested as I speak. I anticipate the results later this week.

"At this time, those herds are restricted and all animals which received this feed have been highlighted on our APHIS animal traceability system so that they cannot enter the food chain without testing clear for any contaminant.

"Furthermore, tracings of animals from these herds which have already gone to slaughter have been provided to the meat plants concerned so that they can identify any products which remain from these animals.

"So consumers can be confident that beef which is entering the food chain today is safe.

"At present we have no results from animals or feed. When these are available they will be provided to the FSA for a risk assessment of any threat to public health.

"My department has taken precautionary and prudent measures to protect the industry and public health while we await the results of these tests and the subsequent risk analysis.

"In the South results have been received for marker PCBs in beef. The FSAI have now evaluated the results of the samples taken from 11 herds from the 45 farms that are restricted as a result of having received contaminated feed and is satisfied that there is no public health concern.

"My department continues to work closely with DHSSPS, DETI, FSA and DAF." ENDS

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