Sunday 10 August 2014

DES contaminated Danish Pork coming

On Google Alert recently there was notice that the Danish Crown has recalled a batch of pork due to traces of the banned hormone, DES. The report details show this product listed for distribution to Australia. Inquiries to the Department of Agriculture by DES Action NSW have revealed this consignment of pork will arrive in Australia in several weeks time.

In response to the European Commission's warning of the goods in transit to Australia, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has notified state and territory health authorities to ensure the matter is addressed. It is of concern to DES Action NSW that FSANZ has advised Queensland Health that the pork's concentration of DES is of minimal toxicological concern for humans. Where DES Action NSW's understanding is that there is no known safe level of DES, it is a matter of concern that the Australian response may be based on  inaccurate information of there being a safe level.

Today DES Action NSW has written to Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce MP, stating the absence of scientific evidence of a safe level of DES. The organisation has forwarded the Minister details of research showing DES residue at low doses in agricultural products to be more effective at inducing cancer than large doses, research showing DES residue in beef to alter testicular development and reproductive capacity, and reports of precocious puberty in young children who have ingested DES contaminated food. In view of this evidence provided, the Minister is urged to comply with zero tolerance for DES residue in imported food as per the Australian Policy Guideline on the Regulation of Residues. Request has been made for border action under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme to assist State government authorities deal with this matter, or even adopting stricter measures.

Recent media report Local Pork industry calls for Australian-made bacon labelling overhaul -Landline 27/7/14 raises concern that imported Danish pork is an accepted ingredient in packaged bacon labelled as an Australian product. Department failure to address DES contaminated pork could mean the spread of DES into Australian bacon products.