Emergency sitting in Brussels over dioxin scare
European feed suppliers are to meet with the European Commission in Brussels on Monday morning following the discovery of contaminated animal feeds in Germany. The European Commission wants to keep the production and distribution of fatty acids for industrial use and for use in animal feeds more separate from one another.
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli said on Sunday that the EU needed to take action given global response to the dioxin crisis. South Korea has suspended imports of German pork and Slovakia - also an EU member - imposed restrictions on German meat. Earlier, it had suspended sales of poultry and eggs while conducting tests to assess dioxin levels. Russia's agricultural watchdog said it had stepped up controls on food of animal origin from Germany and the EU.
Brussels does not consider there are grounds for declaring a ban on exports of German meat or other products from Germany because affected farms have been closed and their products blocked, awaiting analysis.
Police last week raided a firm in northern Germany suspected of supplying up to 3,000 tonnes of fatty acids meant only for industrial use contaminated with potentially carcinogenic dioxins to some 25 animal feed makers. Tests on samples from the company, Harles und Jentzsch, showed nine samples out of 20 had dioxin levels higher, or much higher, than permitted, with one 78 times over the legal limit.
The plant produces fats to be used both in industrial processes like paper-making as well as to enrich feeds for animals. The dioxin-contaminated industrial substance went into the animal feed ingredient.
Initially the scare was confined to Germany, but then it was learnt that a batch of affected eggs had been exported to the Netherlands for processing. The processed eggs were destined for use in Britain in the production of a variety of foodstuffs including mayonnaise, cakes and pastries.
The European Food Safety Authority will meet on Tuesday to discuss the dioxin scandal and ways to improve monitoring processes of dioxins in feed.
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