In news that has meat-lovers everywhere sweating and vegetarians everywhere looking rather smug, all pork products made and sold here in the Irish Republic since September have been recalled over fears they are contaminated with a toxic substance.
The dioxin, known as PCB, has been banned since 1979 and has been known to affect the immune system and reproductive system and, in certain cases, cause cancer.
Tests showed some pork products contained up to 200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limit.
The contamination first came to light last Monday, but the positive tests in the pork were only confirmed Saturday afternoon and the Irish public have been advised to destroy all pork products purchased since September.
Contaminated feed was used at a total of 47 farms, nine of which were pork producing farms, with the remaining 38 being beef farms - one of these also produced pork products.
However the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has advised that it is not necessary at this time to have a similar withdrawal of beef products.
Alan Reilly of the FSAI said a whole range of products, including sausages, bacon, pizza toppings, should be destroyed. He urged consumers to return Irish pork products to retailers if possible or simply put them in the bin.
The Taoiseach and Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, have attended crisis talks at the Department of Agriculture following the discovery of the toxic substance in slaughtered pigs.
The discovery has also provoked concern in the farming community as the pork industry is the fourth biggest in the agriculture sector and is worth around €400 million per year.
Make no mistake about it this is a catastrophe for this country, and that is no exaggeration. This will really hit the farming sector hard and I know butchers who will be having a very bleak Christmas over this development.
The health question is of course the major concern though. Are we safe? I myself like pork and beef products as much as the next Irishman. I don't wolf down the stuff on a daily basis but I eat enough of it to be uneasy. What does this mean for me and people like me? What about the kids who eat ham sandwiches everyday for lunch at school? What about the elderly folks who enjoy a bacon sandwich for their supper? Are we all at risk? The government are telling us no...
"The state's Chief Medical Officer there was no need for the public to worry and that the government had taken a precautionary approach to minimise the risk to public health.
"Dr Tony Holohan said the public should simply destroy what pork products they have in their fridge and freezer. He said the dioxin is only dangerous if a person is exposed to it over a long period of time. In such circumstances, he said, it can have a range of effects on organs such as the liver and nervous system.
"But he stressed that the period in question here is much shorter, and such effects should not arise as the exposure has been identified at an early stage.
"Dr Holohan said because there is no risk from the low exposure, people do not need to seek medical help."
Yeah, SHOULD not arise. Much in the same way that situations like this SHOULD NOT ARISE. I wonder if this is simply being said in order to alleviate fears and prevent widespread panic?
Whatever the case, this is yet another sorry incident to add to this government's absolutely blunderful record in power. Have we put other countries at risk also? Well the UK's Food Standards Agency are awaiting confirmation from authorities here as to whether any of the affected products have been exported to the UK. So that's a maybe.
I have a few questions in all of this. Firstly, why isn't the beef being recalled if there are question marks hanging over it? Not that I'll be going near the stuff anyway. Secondly, how the hell was this allowed to happen? The idea that this stuff has been on sale for THREE MONTHS is frightening. And finally, if we shouldn't panic, then why are government ministers holding crisis talks, hmm?
I've disposed of my meat products anyway and have had to throw out some good ham. Like a lot of people I imagine, I'm fretting over the meat I have consumed in recent times including those tasty sausages I had on Friday night.
Anyways, to any overseas visitors who may be reading this, may I urge you to enjoy your Christmas ham this year because I'm sure there will be many Irish people giving it a miss.
This is another fine mess these clowns in office have gotten us into. You'd think they couldn't ruin anything else but they've actually made a pretty good stab at ruining Christmas. Kudos to them for that.
I would personally like to see the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith RESIGN, to see that waste of space Health Minister of ours Mary Harney RESIGN, plus, last but not least, a general election called for early next year so we can put right the mistake of last year and boot out this shower of incompetent idiots. Then we can get in some people who can actually govern the country without putting the country's citizens at risk. Only in Ireland eh?
Alas, that's about as likely right now as me tucking into a bacon cheeseburger.
Still if we aren't able to enjoy a bacon roll or a sausage roll at the present time, that doesn't mean we can't aspire for a few minister's heads to roll, isn't that right?