Industry must work with governments, and consumers must be made aware rather
than kept misinformed and controlled by corporate PR people in order to keep
their dollars coming back into offending corporations. In Belgium and other
countries where the press controls corporate disinformation better than in the
U.S., the public is more informed.
> Howdy, all--
> Thought this might interest some of you.
> Apparently it's necessary for me to remind folks that my passing
> along items from news services does not mean I believe in or endorse
> everything in them. I'm here to share information I run across,
> folks, not to tell anybody what to think about it. I preassume that
> each of you has your own interpretive thinking-cap, and that there
> are as many caps out there as heads they sit on. If not more. Though
> I am likely to also share my own humble opinions from time to time.
> DIOXIN & PCB CONTAMINATION, FOOD - BELGIUM: UPDATE
> A ProMED-mail post
> Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 11:49:41 -0400
> From: "Marjorie P. Pollack"
> Source: Reuters 29 Jul 1999 [edited]
> Belgium blocks 175 farms in new food scare
> - ---------------------------------------------
> Belgium has quarantined another 175 poultry and pig farms as a scare over
> food contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical dioxin flared up again, a
> government source said on Thursday.
> The source said the authorities took the step after tests revealed
> polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxic chemicals which can indicate the
> presence of dioxins, in animal feed.
> The feed was supplied by the firm Versele, which used animal fat from
> Verkest, one of two fats processors identified as the source of Belgium's
> original dioxin crisis. That erupted in late May, causing Europe's worst
> health scare since mad cow disease.
> The crisis triggered worldwide bans on sales of Belgian meat, chicken, eggs,
> dairy products and processed foods, and led voters to oust the coalition
> government in June elections.
> Belgium told the European Union's Standing Veterinary Committee about the
> 175 new farms on Thursday morning, the government source said.
> Government officials were trying to convince the committee, made up of
> senior veterinary officials from the 15 EU countries, that Belgium's
> handling of the crisis was adequate.
> ``This is a precautionary measure. The level of contamination is very low.
> But we are being very strict now. The prime minister said last week that if
> there was any contamination we would quarantine farms,'' the source told
> But he stressed there was no new source of contamination other than Verkest
> and fats processor Fogra, which was also implicated in the original
> contamination scandal.
> Belgium's latest action brings to around 1000 the number of farms placed
> under quarantine since late May. It flared up again last week when the
> government said it had added another 233 pig farms to the original blacklist
> in mid-July after new tests revealed high levels of PCBs in feed.
> The new government, which took office less than three weeks ago, has been
> struggling to resolve the complex crisis, which is officially estimated to
> cost over $1.5 billion in lost revenue.
> Belgium said on Tuesday it would buy back and destroy stocks of potentially
> contaminated pork and processed pork foods with a fat content of over 20
> percent. The stocks were impounded in June as a safety precaution along with
> suspect beef and poultry.
> The EU insists all possibly risky products with a fat content of more than 2
> percent must be destroyed, meaning foodstuffs now on the market would also
> have to be recalled.
> EU vets also want Belgium to explain a sudden resurgence of dioxins in
> feedstuffs on March 11, after the previous administration said contamination
> was limited to January , and why an all-clear certificate was granted
> to a farm where dioxin-tainted produce was discovered.
> Belgian officials were also trying on Thursday to convince Denmark to lift
> its threat to ban all Belgian meat imports from Friday.
> Discussions continued on Thursday over a government proposal to grant
> interest-free loans to farmers whose revenue has dropped over 30 percent as
> a result of the crisis.
> The EU's executive Commission, which last week approved Belgian state aid to
> farms and food firms whose goods were impounded in the dioxin scare, says
> the new, wider aid package could distort competition in the EU's 15-nation
> internal market.
> "That means the Belgian proposal will have to be adapted,'' Bok Van De
> Voorde, spokesman for the government's dioxin trouble-shooter Freddy
> Willockx, told Reuters.
> [By Gillian Handyside]
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