Irish food safety authorities have announced that all cattle reared at the 21 farms supplied with dioxin-contaminated feed will be slaughtered and their carcases will be destroyed.


Laboratory results yesterday (18 December) confirmed previous tests that detected the presence of cancer-causing dioxins in beef reared at these farms. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and Irish Department of Agriculture have therefore determined that the cattle should be prevented from entering the food chain.


The Department of Agriculture placed restrictions on the movement of animals at the 21 farms affected on 5 December, while a trade withdrawal of meat produced at these farms was initiated on 9 December.


A spokesperson for the FSAI told just-food that the process of identifying products that may contain contaminated beef was underway.


"The Department of Agriculture… has been identifying what products might be contaminated since the lockdown and these will be subject to a trade withdrawal. Nothing has come off those farms since 5 December, so chances are that there is very little contaminated beef out there," the spokesperson said.


According to the spokesperson, the food safety regulator determined that a consumer recall is unnecessary, as it has no concern over health risks.


The authority said that because dioxins accumulate in animal fat, the relatively lean nature of beef means that consumers' exposure to dioxins will be reduced. Low consumption levels also reduce exposure, the FSAI added.


The news comes a week on from a total recall of Irish pork, which was also contaminated with dioxins after farms were supplied with tainted feed.