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Agriculture Today

Chilean chicken recall expands due to dioxin

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August 21, 2013 | 4,343 views | Post a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has expanded the amount of product being recalled by the Chilean Ministry of Health, according to an Aug. 15 FSIS press release. After official notification from the government of Chile of the positive result for dioxin, the Inspection Service instructed importers to hold chicken products, which were presented for re-inspection. Through effectiveness checks, FSIS has determined that 188,042 pounds was distributed to federal establishments for further processing, a distributor, and retail locations in Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

All receivers of affected product from the Chilean-initiated recall have been notified and have removed product from commerce.

The Inspection Service has conducted an analysis of the Chilean test results and determined that the risk to consumers is negligible. FSIS continues to investigate distribution of the product and will take immediate action on new information.

The FSIS has reason to believe, based on information provided by the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, that recent shipments of poultry from Chile contain dioxin, and, because they have been recalled, they are unfit for consumption.

Dioxins are a group of compounds that form naturally during forest fires, as well as from industrial emissions and burning trash. They are incorporated into plants and are potentially eaten by animals where they become concentrated in animal fat. People are exposed to low levels of dioxins through their diet with lesser exposure from air and soil. At very high doses for a prolonged period, dioxins can have adverse health effects. FSIS has determined that exposure to dioxin in the product is low and does not pose a health threat.

The Inspection Service works to ensure the safety of meat and poultry products, including food imported from foreign countries. FSIS maintains a robust inspection program that offers three tiers of protection. The exporting country must show that their food safety standards are equivalent to those established by the United States. Once equivalency is met, the exporting country must show ongoing equivalence through self-reports and annual FSIS in-country audits. Finally, FSIS inspects imported product at port-of-entry prior to release to the U.S. commerce.

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