The day the pork products came back


SUPERMARKET SHELVES:GERMAN FRANKFURTERS were being stacked on to the shelves in the Lidl supermarket on Dublin's Moore Street yesterday afternoon, where a sign informed customers that: "All pork products currently on sale are non-Irish."

Husband and wife Frank and Elizabeth Cox, from Santry, had opposing views about the pigmeat crisis. "I'd be wary of it. They're letting it back too quickly. It's panic stations," Mr Cox said.

Mrs Cox said she was not too worried. "When we had the Mad Cow, it soon got sorted out so there's no point in making a big deal." And she told her husband: "You'll have to eat it because I'll be cooking it for you."

Meanwhile, there were some empty shelves in Tesco on Parnell Street yesterday afternoon, although pork products from Athlone, Drogheda, Cookstown and Portadown were on sale. Some carried red stickers declaring them to be "new stock".

A notice at the door of the store told customers that pork products were being sourced "outside of ROI in the interim" given the concerns about Irish produce. A spokesman for Tesco said fresh Irish pork would be in stores across the country on Saturday. Cured hams will be available early next week.

In Castletroy, Co Limerick, Superquinn store manager Nigel Callanan said his customers were pleased that own-brand and some branded pork was back on sale. "The biggest thing is that they are able to order hams as well as turkeys for Christmas. People are happy about that," he said.

A Superquinn spokeswoman claimed Superquinn was the first retailer to have "safe Irish pork" on sale yesterday.

In Marks Spencer on Upper Liffey Street, customers were informed Irish pork products had been temporarily removed from the shelves. Notices also declared that no beef, chicken and turkey products were affected by the "current feed contamination issue".

A spokeswoman said Marks Spencer in Ireland was committed to getting Irish pork products back on shelves as soon as possible. "We are working closely with our Irish producers to ensure this happens swiftly and, in the meantime, have sourced products from our alternative suppliers so that people can still buy the items they want," she said.

Customer Majella Lynch from Beaumont said she was disappointed not to be able to buy Irish produce. "I usually buy Irish but I'm stocking up for Christmas now and I'm not coming back into town. I've cousins who are pig farmers. Times are hard enough - farming isn't the most lucrative business."

In Dunnes Stores on St Stephen's Green, there were some empty shelves. One product carried a sticker declaring it "of non-Irish origin", while Irish brands were labelled "safe and approved".

One shopper, Clare Cunningham, from Kenya, said she was still worried. "I haven't bought any pork since I heard about it. I'm still kind of unsure."

Another customer, Tanja Mihovec from Slovenia, said she had now stopped eating pork altogether: "I'm angry that they didn't say anything before when so many people were eating it. I actually don't eat it now because of this."