Germany says no health risk from farm exports
Germany said Monday that its farm exports posed no health risk as it sought to convince Slovakia and South Korea to lift bans imposed after a dioxin scare, as restrictions on 3,000 farms were removed.
A spokesman for the German agriculture ministry said that EU member Slovakia stopping the sale of German poultry meat and eggs, pending tests, was "unfounded ... and completely unacceptable".
"We have already told the European Commission this," Holger Eichele said. "The Commission has praised the measures put into place in Germany and confirmed their effectiveness."
He added: "We are in talks with (South) Korea in order to convince the authorities there of the effectiveness of the measures. We are making clear that at no point did German exports pose any health risk."
Police last week raided a north German firm suspected of knowingly supplying up to 3,000 tonnes of fatty acids meant for industrial use with high levels of potentially carcinogenic dioxins to some 25 animal feed makers.
These 25 companies then delivered reportedly up to 150,000 tonnes of contaminated feed to thousands of farms -- mostly those producing eggs and rearing poultry and pigs -- across large parts of Germany.
Germany late Thursday banned some 4,700 of its 375,000 farms from selling products pending test results, destroying more than 100,000 eggs and launching recall actions.
It has insisted that there was no risk to public health, and authorities on Sunday gave some 3,000 of the farms the all-clear. The European Commission has called export restrictions "out of proportion".
German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner has vowed to crack down hard on those behind the contamination and was due later Monday to meet with feed suppliers and farmers' associations to discuss the way forward.
The animal feed industry must not only "contribute actively to clearing up what happened, but also put concrete proposals on the table on how to avoid cases like this in future," Aigner told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.
© 2011 AFP