Australia’s federal food authority has admitted that dangerous chemicals, such as rat poison, may legally be sold in meat products that are accidentally contaminated with them, according to the current law.
Tests carried out earlier this year have found traces of rat bait in pig livers on some farms in Victoria, South Australia and NSW. Coumatetrayl, an anticoagulant that can cause serious illness if overexposed to, has also been found on three farms, although reportedly in ‘low levels’ and not in the commonly eaten meats.
Chemical Investigations Continue
Investigations into the levels of harmful chemicals continue and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) suggests that creating limits regarding the acceptable safe residue level could help control the issue.
The proposed limits were adopted earlier this year by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority. FSANZ spokesperson Lorraine Haase said they would not present any public health and safety concerns.
“Introducing these maximum residue limits will allow certain pork commodities that inadvertently contain residues at low levels to be legally sold in Australia,” said Haase.
Cause of Contamination
It is believed that rats that had eaten the poison then contaminated food eaten by the pigs. Although the chemical was not found in ham, pork or bacon, some offal cuts from the farms are no longer allowed for human consumption.
Whether the FSANZ is successful in introducing the proposed limits remains to be seen, however, the public should be extra careful when it comes to safely handling and preparing pork products.