Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Oil plant investigated over pork

Irish bacon and sausages
Irish pork supplies are being restored

A Northern Ireland oil recycling facility is being investigated by the environment agency over the contaminated Irish pork scare.

The Environment Agency said its investigations were at an early stage.

It would not identify the firm, but it is believed to be O'Neill fuels, based near Coalisland, County Tyrone. No-one at the firm was available for comment.

Meanwhile, the Republic's agriculture minister has announced how supplies of Irish pork are to be restored.

Brendan Smith said special labelling will confirm pork as having had no association with contaminated feed.

He said quick weekend action had let them restore supplies "in which consumers can have full confidence".

Slaughtering of pigs in the Republic is resuming on Thursday after the Irish government agreed to set up a 180m euro (158m) contingency fund to help the pork industry meet the cost of the product recall.

European health watchdogs gave the all-clear on Wednesday to pork from the Republic of Ireland, and confirmed eating pig meat over the last three months posed no serious health risk.

Officials at the European Food Safety Authority found consumers should not be worried if they ate Irish produce - even if it was contaminated with a possible cancer-causing toxic.

But the Parma-based agency said it also supported the Irish government's total recall.

Its experts found eating an average amount of Irish pork every day during the 90-day contamination period from 1 September caused no concerns even if 10% of the meat and fat was infected at the highest level.

In Northern Ireland, pork production resumed on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, it emerged 53 cattle herds had consumed the contaminated feed but authorities on both sides of the border said neither beef nor milk posed any public health risk.

Nine herds in Northern Ireland had consumed the feed.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said because of the differences in the digestive system of cows and pigs, the risk of contamination in beef was much lower than had been feared in relation to pork.

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