Food Fright; Health Scares That Shook World

The Mirror (London, England), December 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Food Fright; Health Scares That Shook World


Byline: BY MICHELLE O'KEEFFE

IN the last 30 years the food industry throughout the world has been rocked by numerous scandals.

The recent baby food crisis in China killed several youngsters and poisoned thousands of others and resulted from unscrupulous producers trying to make more profits.

But most incidents of contamination take place because strict guidelines are not followed or are flouted.

Here is a rundown of the main food-related health scares that have shook Ireland and the rest of the world in the past 10 years.

FOOT & MOUTH

IRELAND ground to a halt after suffering one case of foot-and-mouth in a flock of sheep in Jenkinstown, Co Louth, in March 2001.

A cull of healthy livestock around the farm was ordered and Irish special forces sniped wild animals capable of bearing the disease, such as deer, in the area.

The outbreak greatly affected the Irish food and tourism industry.

And in 2001 the St Patrick's Day festival was cancelled, but later rescheduled two months later in May. Severe precautionary measures were put in place throughout Ireland after the outbreak of the disease in the UK.

Most public events and gatherings were cancelled, controls on farm access, and disinfectant mats at railway stations, public buildings and university campuses were just some of the measures.

And some of Ireland's Six Nations rugby internationals were postponed.

The outbreak of foot-andmouth disease in England in 2001 caused a crisis in British agriculture and tourism.

There were 2,000 cases of the disease in farms and more than 10 million animals were killed.

BSE

BSE - a cattle brain disease - has caused huge damage to the Irish beef industry over the past 15 years.

Irish beef exports were banned from many countries and a hugely-expensive series of Government measures were put in place to deal with the disease.

Eating meat from a BSE-infected animal can cause a similar illness in humans, known as variant CJD - Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

There is no cure for the killer disease.

There has been 19 cases of BSE reported so far this year while there were 25 cows discovered with BSE last year.

This compares to 41 cases in 2006, 69 in 2005, 126 in 2004, 182 in 2003 and 333 in 2002.

BIRD FLU

BIRD Flu - also called H5N1 virus - is a highly-contagious virus subtype which occurs mainly in birds.

Up to 160,000 turkeys were gassed last year in a commercial farm in Suffolk after Britain recorded its first case of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus. The mass cull of turkeys happened at the Bernard Matthews food chain farm in Suffolk.

While in Ireland the state laboratories were put on alert for the taking in and sampling of dead birds which may be found around the country. …

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