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‘Inappropriate oil’ is the likely culprit in pork scare

The managing director of the company at the centre of Ireland’s biggest food recall was yesterday assisting gardai and Agriculture Department officials as the probe into the source of the contamination crisis continued.

The Republic’s Agriculture Department confirmed tests to clarify the source of the dioxins PCB in the feed had indicated "inappropriate oil" was used at the plant in question.

However, the oil was not mixed into the feed ingredients but had been used to generate the heat to dry the dough. It was described as not appropriate for the type of operation under way at the plant.

The plant, Millstream Power Recycling, did not have the required licence from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to the department. Officials from the EPA yesterday visited the facility based just outside Fenagh in Co Carlow.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Millstream Power Recycling said the managing director of the company, Robert Hogg, was assisting gardai and department officials with their enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the multi-million euro recall of the Irish pigmeat.

The food recycler is adamant there was no industrial oil or additives placed in the feed ingredients supplied to the nine pig farms and 38 cattle farms.

Mr Hogg, who is in his 40s, was unavailable for comment last night after senior department officials pinpointed the oil as the source of the contamination.

The plant, based just outside Fenagh, Co Carlow, recycles stale bread and other unused food products as an ingredient for pig feed.

The company takes in bread and other food stuffs, ensures all paper wrappings and plastic is removed and cleans it, before placing it in the dryer.

“They add nothing to it,” the spokesman had explained earlier yesterday.

The drying operation is fuelled by a motor run by oil. The plant is operating under a waste permit from Carlow County Council.

Security guarded the entrance of Millstream Power Recycling yesterday while a Garda car sat outside.

Just 10 miles away, a security firm manned the entrance of Mr Hogg’s home in Clohamon, on the outskirts of Bunclody.

On one of the gates to the farm, a ’No Entry’ sign was erected, with ’Hogg’s Hogs’ printed in small letters.

There was no sign of Mr Hogg at either property yesterday. He spokesman said he was busy assisting gardai and other officials with their enquiries.

Mr Hogg, who had returned from honeymoon as the crisis unfolded, is known to many in the area as one of the larger employers and through his sporting interests.

"It is devastating for him and his new wife," the spokesman said.

The well-maintained grounds of the Bunclody Polo Club are on his land adjacent to his home at Clohamon Mills.

The polo enthusiast is also listed as one of the key contacts for the club, which charges a joining fee to members of €1,000 and a further €600 in annual fees.

Neighbours in the tight-knit community said Mr Hogg had not been seen in the past few days.

A shopkeeper at Clohamon Stores in the village described Mr Hogg as a "nice man", who provided employment to 40 or 50 people.

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