South Africa bans EU imports due to dioxin scare

South Africa announced today that it was suspending imports of all meat and dairy products from the EU, due to the discovery of dioxin in Irish meat products.

South Africa's Department of Agriculture said: "Due to concerns regarding 'soft borders' within the EU and the wide distribution of animal feed between EU member states, a decision has been taken to suspend all imports of meat and dairy products and other edible animal products (including pet food) from the EU to South Africa."

The European Union's Food Safety Authority said yesterday that the dioxin contamination in Irish pork probably posed no health risk to humans who ate the product.

The South African statement said all Irish pork and bacon from pigs slaughtered after 1 September would be recalled. "This cut-off date will also apply to meat and dairy products exported from other EU member states to South Africa," it added.

"Meat and dairy products that have been put on the water after 12 December, 2008 will be rejected and returned to the country of origin, irrespective of the slaughter or production dates," the department warned.

South Africa has said it would re-evaluate the ban "once the source and the extent of the dioxin contamination are known".

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