The 2008 dioxin crisis, in which Irish pork was contaminated through their feed with this highly toxic chemical, resulted in approximately 30,000 tonnes of pig meat product being recalled and destroyed.
The contamination was eventually detected by the national monitoring program leading to multiple farm closures, major animal welfare issues, and a global recall of Irish pork, resulting in the loss of an estimated 1,800 jobs. The incident was estimated to have cost the economy of island of Ireland over EUR120,000,000.
Professor Chris Elliott and his team at Queen’s were approached by the feed sector to identify ways of preventing the occurrence of such catastrophic feed-related contamination in the future.
Queen’s University leads an intensive research programme to develop, validate and implement innovative techniques to detect and monitor a broad spectrum of feed-related contaminants, which when incorporated within a risk-based sampling approach, providing a supply chain-wide quality assurance scheme.
The ‘Food Fortress’ scheme was launched by Queen’s as a pilot in 2014 with 19 large animal feed companies involved.
Read more here about how The Food Fortress scheme increased the level of testing for all high-risk chemical contaminants by over 500% without any additional industrial costs.