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European supermarkets were ordered to clear their shelves of Irish bacon, ham and sausages Sunday after authorities announced that Irish pork products had been tainted with a potentially cancer-causing chemical.

Health officials across the continent warned their consumers not to eat Irish pork after the discovery that dioxins had been in some of the pigs' feed for months. Irish government officials described the recall — which affects all pig products produced since Sept. 1 — as a precautionary move, but farmers called it a nightmare for Ireland's 450 million euro ($570 million) pig industry.

"We're actually reeling in shock at the moment at the scale of this disaster," Tim Cullinan, an official with the Irish Farmers Association and a pig farmer, told Irish state radio RTE. "It couldn't have come at worse time, the weeks leading up to Christmas. ... It's a nightmare, to be honest," he said.

Ireland's Food Safety Authority said the dioxin made its way into the food chain after pig feed from a producer was tainted with industrial oil. While only 10 percent of the country's pig meat was affected, that was processed and mixed in with other meat, resulting in widespread contamination.


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