No Irish pork containing dioxins was imported into Finland
As a safety measure, all previously imported and stored pork from Ireland withdrawn from distribution
So far as is known, no Irish pork contaminated by dioxins ever made it to Finland. As a precautionary measure, however, the Finnish Food Safety Authority EVIRA decided to withdraw all Irish pork from sales.
In all, there was very little of it. After the beginning of September, only around 30,000 kilograms of Irish pork has been imported into Finland. According to the commercial Finnish television channel Nelonen’s news programme Nelosen Uutiset, all the imported pork went to the fast food chain Subway to be used as sandwich filler. Some of this pork has already been consumed. The rest is no longer available to customers.
The importer of Irish pork had reacted to the contamination scare already during the weekend and passed the information onto the clients. On Monday, pork stored by the importer was no longer delivered onwards. Likewise, already distributed pork products were withdrawn from sales.
According to Ireland and the EU Commission, very high levels of toxic substances called dioxins have been measured in Irish pork.
The measured amounts have been up to 200 times greater than the highest permissible limit.
Ireland quickly sent information to twelve EU countries and to a few nations outside the Union over consignments suspected of contamination. None of these consignments were sent to Finland.
“The Irish authorities have confirmed that no contaminated pork was shipped off to Finland”, says senior officer Britta Wiander of EVIRA.
Finland has only received cooked meat products, such as sausages and meatballs, from Ireland.
Measured against the entire amount of imported meat, the share of Irish pork is minute. Finland imports around ten million kilograms of pork per year. The 30,000 kilograms imported from Ireland this autumn constitute only a couple of parts per thousand of the total.
Finnish meat processing companies, in turn, affirm that they only use domestic pork in their products.
Atria, for one, has built its entire brand on domestic meats. Managing director Jari Leija of HK Ruokatalo also dives an assurance that his company does not use foreign meat.
Processed meat products, in turn, may contain Irish pork. The Swedish food supplies giant Findus, for one, has used Irish pork in its products.
The dioxins found in the Irish pork more than likely originated from contaminated fodder.
In principle, it is possible that the same fodder might have ended up in Finland as well. EVIRA noted on Monday, however, that no pig fodder has been imported into Finland from Ireland this year.
According to the Irish media, the contaminated fodder originated from the Millstream Recycling production facility, which turns for example expired bread, dough, and chocolate biscuits into feed.
In September something went seriously wrong with the production process.
Now it is suspected that oil or fumes from oil were mixed with the feed. Oil is used in the facility at least in the machine that heats up the fodder.
Even though the plant supplied the contaminated feed to only a small number of farms, the Irish have had to take drastic action since slaughtering operations are centralised in the country, and it would not be possible any longer to determine which were contaminated consignments of meat and which were clean.
Food Safety Authority of Ireland