70,000 NI pork shipment to China called back


By Conor Macauley, BBC N.Ireland Agriculture Correspondent, BBC News

Nov 28, 2019


A 70,000 shipment of Northern Ireland pork sent to China was called back due to an issue with accompanying paperwork, it has emerged.


The 25 tonnes of meat had been dispatched from County Tyrone processor, Karro, based in Cookstown.


It was brought back to Belfast Port after what the company called a "communications error".


Exports to China have increased since a devastating pig disease hit it and a number of other countries hard.


African Swine Fever is a highly contagious viral infection with a high mortality rate.


Concern about the return of the consignment was raised in an industry publication.


But Karro said the meat had been recalled before it had been off-loaded in China.


"We can confirm that a container produced at our Cookstown facility and sent to China on 26 June was returned in transit due to a communications error," it said.


"The shipment was not unloaded in China."


'No potential for contamination'


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs confirmed that the container had not "progressed beyond the docks".


"As the product was not unloaded and did not enter China, there was no potential for contamination and there should be no risk to domestic production here," a spokesman said.


DAERA said the recall of the pork had been a commercial decision by the company.


Four companies in Northern Ireland are licensed to export pork to China...