The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is reminding countries and operators all along the food chain of the importance of good practices and ongoing vigilance to ensure the safety of foods of animal origin. The call arises as a new episode of dioxin contamination is causing concern to governments, producers and consumers alike. While the most recent event relates to pork meat and pork containing products originating from Ireland, dioxin contaminated Italian mozzarella had to be removed from the market earlier this year, and widespread contamination of foods of animal origin with dioxin occurred in several European countries in the late ’90’s.
These recurring incidents highlight the need for feed safety as the first step in the production chain, the implementation of best practices by all operators in the chain, and the capacity to detect contaminated food and feed. Early detection of non-compliance through official monitoring programmes facilitates minimising risks to animal and human health, timely dissemination of clear information targeted to those who need it, identification of contaminated food products and effective containment and recall.
Such contamination events not only present a risk to human and animal health, but have serious economic repercussions in the agricultural sector, impacting on the livelihoods of hundreds of workers and producers. The importance of measures to enable tracing of food and feed products are highlighted to identify those products which are contaminated and to facilitate recalls where necessary.