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Chile's pork industry suffers another dioxin blow

Chile's Health Ministry have quarantined four more pork factories after Canadian health officials confirmed high levels of the carcinogenic chemical dioxin in their pork meat products.

The announcement increases the number of Chilean pork factory quarantines to ten, restricting local and exported meat sales.

Public Health Undersecretary Jeannette Vega confirmed that all infected meat will be destroyed, which includes sacrificing live pigs testing positive for higher than normal dioxin levels.

In early July, South Korea detected higher than permitted levels of dioxin in a package of imported Chilean pork and eliminated the rest of the packages received. Shortly there after, South Korean officials placed a ban on Chile's pork imports.

Dioxin is measured in the pig's fat by picograms, which is one trillionth of a gram. For pig meat to pass South Korean health standards, it must not contain more than 2 picograms.

In late July, Japan also declared a temporary suspension of Chilean pork imports due to the South Korean incident. This is a severe blow to Chile's pork export industry, as Japan represents one of Chile's three most important export markets, consuming 33 percent of total Chilean pork in 2007.

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