The Food Standards Agency has moved to reassure consumers that there is little health risk to anyone having eaten contaminated Irish pork. 

Supermarkets have spent the weekend withdrawing Irish pork after it emerged that pork from both Northern and the Republic of Ireland could have been contaminated with dioxins.

Nine Northern Irish farms are believed to have used the same feed substance that prompted a recall of pork products south of the border. The meat is also believed to have been exported across Europe.

However the FSA insisted consumers would have had to eat large quantities over a prolonged period to have been affected. “From the information that we have at this time, we do not believe there is significant risk to UK consumers as adverse health effects from eating the affected products are only likely if people are exposed to relatively high levels of this contaminant for long periods,” the FSA said in a statement.

The recall comes at a particularly bad time for the Irish industry ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period.

Irish meat represents about 8% of the UK’s pork imports, with the majority coming from Denmark and the Netherlands. The UK is about 50% self-sufficient in pork.