An estimated 22 tons of Irish cheddar cheese is set to be destroyed after dangerous levels of E.coli bacteria were found in a shipment sent to South Africa, authorities said on Wednesday.
Safety experts classified the hefty cargo as “too risky for human consumption” after it docked in the country’s eastern port of Durban.
Although most E.coli strains are harmless, officials feared that piles of 25-kilo blocks were contaminated with enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.
Hundreds of tons of Irish cheddar are ferried to South Africa every year after a journey that covers around 12,500km, or 6,700 nautical miles.
But port health spokesman Chris Maxon said the container would be returned to its exporter, which has not been named.
He said: “The cheese has been sealed off, and will not be allowed into South Africa.
“E.coli was found to be in the food. A certain amount of it is accepted, but the levels here were not in line with safety standards. It was deemed too risky for human consumption.
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