EU warns of stricter controls after German dioxin scare

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EU health commissioner John Dalli warned Monday that bloc-wide new measures are needed over and above German moves aimed at preventing a repeat of a damaging dioxin poisoning scare in farm produce.

After talks between European Union agriculture ministers in Brussels, Dalli said there was "room for improvement" across the food chain within the 27-nation EU, home to half a billion people.

The problem in Germany stemmed from firms producing fats for industrial uses and for animal feed at the same site, and Brussels is looking at bringing in continent-wide strict separation, Dalli said, with "obligatory authorisations."

German government measures announed last week will leave makers of animal feed subject to tougher regulations and more inspections, as well as harsher penalties.

Around 100,000 eggs were destroyed after the scandal broke earlier this month while thousands of farms were closed for tests before being given the all-clear -- with almost 600 still blocked on Monday.

South Korea and China banned German pork imports, while Japan ordered importers to report all pork shipments. Slovakia outlawed the sale of German eggs and poultry meat but the ban was lifted last week.

© 2011 AFP

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