FSA: Pyres seem to be safe

6 July 2001

FSA: Pyres ‘seem to be safe’

By FWi staff

PYRES of carcasses burned at the height of the foot-and-mouth crisis are unlikely to have released cancer-causing chemicals, say food safety experts.

The Food Standards had Agency warned of a possible risk of high levels of dioxins and PCBs being found in dairy produce produced close to pyres.

People who only consume whole milk and whole milk products from animals within two km of pyres have been advised to vary their diet.

But tests show that levels in foods around pyres nearly all fall within the expected range giving a generally reassuring picture at this stage, says the FSA.

Some 63 samples — a third of all samples — have been tested from Anglesey, Cornwall, Cumbria, South Wales, Dumfries and Galloway and Devon.

Samples tested include milk, hen eggs, duck eggs, chickens, cheese, butter, soil and herbage.

All results are as expected, apart from higher than expected dioxin levels in poultry meat from a holding in Scotland and hen eggs from Anglesey.

These appear to be related to local contamination and are not consistent with emissions from pyres, says the FSA. They are subject to further investigations.

For the first time milk samples from cattle that had been grazing for four to six weeks were included and show no increase in levels of dioxins.

The four to six week period is important because this is when it is expected that any high accumulations of dioxins would appear, says the FSA.

Food Standards Agency deputy chair Suzi Leather said: “In general the situation across the UK is reassuring.

Nearly all of the results are within expected ranges and indicate that foods from these areas dont pose a risk to public health.”

Full results of the agencys testing programme are expected at the end of July.


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