'Fodder abuses place consumers at risk'
1 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch fodder industry is mixing waste products from animal medicines and offal into livestock fodder, threatening the safety of human food, a confidential report indicates. An investigation conducted between 2001 and 2003 identified 43 cases and indicated "serious breaches" were the norm in the Dutch fodder industry. The investigation was carried out by the national police force KLPD and the Health Ministry's investigation service.
1 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch fodder industry is mixing waste products from animal medicines and offal into livestock fodder, threatening the safety of human food, a confidential report indicates.
An investigation conducted between 2001 and 2003 identified 43 cases and indicated "serious breaches" were the norm in the Dutch fodder industry. The investigation was carried out by the national police force KLPD and the Health Ministry's investigation service.
Researchers said waste was being processed on a large scale into fodder, identifying the pig industry as the worst offender. They said industry-wide abuses presented a threat to public health and food safety, with consumers being buying meat and egg products from dioxin-contaminated chickens, hormone-fed pigs and cows with Mad Cow disease.
The report also raised concern about what it called the corrosion in the integrity of public officials. It criticised the response from public servants with provincial governments and municipal councils. Official failings, the report said, included the wrongful issuing of permits and toleration of environmental offences.
It also uncovered sufficient cause for further investigations into organised crime in the Dutch fodder industry. It said such an investigation was appropriate given the greater attention placed on food safety due to recent scandals, newspaper NRC reported.
Main opposition party Labour PvdA is demanding a parliamentary inquiry if it is proven that consumers have been placed at risk.
The confidential report was eventually leaked to animal rights group Wakker Dier. The report claimed the industry was akin to organised crime and urged the Dutch Organisation for Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO) to cut out the "rotten" parts of the industry.
Wakker Dier has since accused Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner of keeping the report secret and said public discussion over food safety should be stimulated. "The government and livestock industry are doing everything to play down the risks," director Marianne Thieme said.
But a ministry spokesman said Donner told the Lower House of Parliament on 20 December last year that he cannot make the report public. The minister said publication of the report could damage the interests of the investigative services and thwart the prosecution of offenders.
Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman has also stated that the industry is responsible for policing abuses within the fodder sector, news agency ANP reported.
As a result of recurring scandals within the industry, the minister drew up special legislation last October allowing the government to take action in the fodder industry where necessary. The legislation allows him to remove dangerous products from shops, action he was previously not authorised to take.
And representatives of the pig and chicken industry, abattoirs, fodder suppliers, supermarkets and environment and consumer groups announced their willingness earlier this month to crackdown on animal illnesses. They said the names of offending companies should also be made public.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news