The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced over the weekend that about 188,000 pounds of chicken imported from Chile is being recalled for potential dioxin contamination.
After the Chilean Ministry of Health found dioxin in chicken products, FSIS said it instructed importers to hold product from the country at the point of re-inspection. U.S. authorities believe 188,522 pounds of chicken may be affected and of that 126,082 is currently being held.
“The agency is investigating the distribution of the remaining 62,440, pounds and verifying if additional shipments are involved,” read the weekend announcement. “FSIS may expand the public notification and will take necessary and appropriate action after analyzing updated information received from the government of Chile.”
The agency said it had conducted an analysis of the Chilean test results and “determined that the risk to consumers is negligible,” but that the agency is continuing to track down where the product was distributed.
FSIS said it was issuing a public notification to “make the public aware of the situation” and the agency is not formally announcing a recall because “the establishment most directly associated with producing the adulterated product has recalled product and USDA works with its counterparts to conduct effectiveness checks in U.S. In this case, the Chilean Ministry of Health initiated a recall of this product.”
According to FSIS: Dioxins are a group of inorganic compounds that form naturally during forest fires, as well as from industrial emissions and burning trash. They are incorporated into plants and are potentially eaten by animals where they become concentrated in animal fat. People are exposed to low levels of dioxins through their diet with lesser exposure from air and soil. At very high doses for a prolonged period, dioxins can have adverse health effects. FSIS has determined that exposure to dioxin in the product is low and does not pose a health threat.