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Chilean Pork Quarantine Inspection Halted

by 5m Editor
19 August 2008, at 7:25am

SEOUL - South Korea's quarantine inspections on Chilean pork will be temporarily ceased as a result of the discovery of a third package of dioxin-tainted meat.

According to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, two packages totaling 11 tons of pork that had more than permissible levels of the toxic compound were found.

The level of dioxin reached 6.2-8.3 picograms of the cancer-causing substance in the fat, surpassing the 2-picogram limit set by Seoul and the maximum 1 picogram established by the European Union. One picogram is equivalent to one trillionth of a gram, reports The Korea Times.

This is the third time in a little over a month that dioxin has been discovered in Chilean imports from two different exporters. The first case was reported on July 3, followed by a second a week later.

Authorities claim that the latest discovery of tainted meat involves a third meat packer, indicating that there may be a systemic problem with meat being exported by the South American country. This meat exporter had already shipped 832 tons of pork to South Korea this year.

"Because half of the six meat packers that currently export pork to South Korea were involved, halting quarantine inspections is a prudent countermeasure until Chilean authorities provide a detailed reason for such developments and give assurances that such shipments will not be sent to South Korea," Yonhap News quoted a ministry source as saying.

Chile is the second-largest exporter of pork to South Korea after the United States, with imports reaching 45,060 tons worth $119.4 million in 2007.

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5m Editor