Timely risk assessments by EU agencies could have halved some of the pork product recall by Irish companies after the dioxin scare last December, the Irish Examiner writes.
Irish Association of Pigmeat Processors’ director, Cormac Healy, told this to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food inquiry into the food scare. He told how the customer of one secondary processor withdrew branded product from seven countries, following a 100% product recall.
About half of the products withdrawn, however, had less than 20% pork – which meant it could have been excluded from the recall, according to a risk assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This assessment, unfortunately, was not announced until a couple of days later.
The total product recall, from pigs slaughtered in Ireland from September 1 to December 6, wiped out 25% of the annual revenue of the Irish pig sector, Healy said. All stocks held were reduced to zero value, and debtors for product sold did not pay.
The cash flow crisis could have sunk the industry, Healy said. “Many companies were advised that, were they to resume operations, given their financial predicament this would have been deemed reckless trading under company law.”
A financial rescue package was essential to save the sector.
Last week, the Irish agriculture minister, Brendan Smith, said payments of €36 million were made to processors in December. His department hoped to be in a position to make further payments shortly.