Irish meat suppliers face a wave of compensation claims from retailers in the wake of the contaminated pork scare - but suppliers may struggle to recoup those losses, experts have warned.

Irish pork began to reappear on supermarket shelves on Thursday as retailers and producers started to count the cost of the week's events - thought to amount to €1m a day at the height of the scare.

They would now be scrutinising their contracts to see what they could claim, said Richard Matthews, head of product liability at Eversheds. "The supermarket would claim against its immediate supplier and so on, down to a potential claim by the farmer against the feed supplier," he said.

Experts warned that suppliers who did not have sufficient insurance cover could face major losses. However, the announcement of a €180m contingency package by the Irish Government on Thursday offered some relief.

Details of how to apply for money under the fund were not available when The Grocer went to press. Compensation was expected to be offered to processors who could provide evidence of an adverse impact on their businesses, said a spokesman for the Irish Farmers Association.

However, the compensation was unlikely to cover all their losses, warned legal experts. "The compensation package will not directly impact on claims for losses which might be brought against suppliers up the supply chain," said Matthews. However, it may alleviate some of the more general losses suffered as a consequence of this crisis."

Last week's revelation that pork contaminated with dioxins had entered the food chain brought the €400m Irish pork industry to a standstill. This week, the European Food Safety Agency stressed that even heavy consumers of Irish pork were unlikely to develop health problems.

The prospect of legal claims being made by consumers was unlikely, said Tom Snelling, a food law expert at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.