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News 525 views last update:Aug 1, 2008

Japan suspends Chilean pork imports

Chile has called the Japanese ambassador in Santiago to express concern over the nation's decision to suspend imports of Chilean pork for alleged sanitary reasons.

Japan argued that shipments were temporarily suspended following the Korean government ban on Chilean pork imports due to dioxin being detected in one package. This is not the case for Japan however.

Quarantine
South Korea's national quarantine service two weeks ago ordered a recall of Chilean pork that may have been contaminated with dioxin after finding a package with a higher than permitted level of the toxic compound. This resulted in the Chilean Health Department quarantining six pork plants to investigate the high level claims. Dioxin is linked to chlorine and can be harmful for human health.

Pork is a growing industry in Chile and Japan is the country's third most important market having acquired last year 33% of total production involving a turnover of 127 million US dollars. In March 2007 Japan and Chile signed a free trade agreement which cut Japanese import tariffs (70%) on Chilean imports, including pork.

Inspections
The Agriculture Ministry has started detailed inspections of all pork shipments from Chile to make certain that tainted meat does not reach consumers. Chile is the second-largest exporter of pork to South Korea after the United States.

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