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Needles Found in Pork at Manitoba Packing Plant

30 January 2013

CANADA - The Manitoba Pork Council is warning hog producers to be more careful with their animals, after needle fragments were recently found in pork at a packing plant.

"In the last month, broken needle fragments have been found twice in pork products at processing plants in Manitoba," the council wrote in the January edition of its newsletter, Chop Talk.

"Fortunately, the fragments were found before meat entered the marketplace."

Karl Kynoch, the council's president, says it's unusual to find broken needles in pork at packing plants twice in one month.

"This is a very rare thing. I can't remember even hearing of one in the past year," Mr Kynoch told CBC's Information Radio program.

Needles are often used to administer injections to pigs, but those needles can break if an animal moves during the injection process.

"If a needle has broken, attempt to retrieve the needle from the pig. If the needle is irretrievable, euthanize the pigs," the pork council wrote in its newsletter.

"Reputation is built by doing a lot of things right. It only takes one broken needle to reach the public to destroy our industry's reputation," it added.

"We need to pull together to prevent these types of occurrences from happening in the future."

Mr Kynoch said metal detectors at packing plants provide a last line of defence, just in case, before processed pork hits store shelves.

"Consumers should feel pretty comfortable with the fact that the metal detector caught this," he said. "That just proves that the system is working."

The council is recommending that all hog producers review their broken-needle policies with their farm staff.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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