Belgium orders judicial inquiry in new food scare
EU: May 22, 2000
BRUSSELS - Belgium has ordered a judicial inquiry
into the discovery of high levels of toxic PCB
chemicals in animal feed at one plant, RTBF radio
reported on Sunday.
More than 200 Belgian farms have been placed under
surveillance since the discovery of the polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs) in a sample of feed taken from the
Bauduin-Cambier company, in Feluy, southern Belgium.
Results from the inquiry, ordered by Belgian Agriculture
Minister Jaak Gabriels, are not due until Monday at the
Government laboratories are carrying out further tests on
feed from the factory and samples have also been taken
from the company's customers across French-speaking
Wallonia and even in the Dutch-speaking northern region of
This latest food scare to hit Belgium comes a year after the
outbreak of the country's dioxin-in-food crisis, when
carcinogenic dioxins entered the food chain via animal feed
made with contaminated fats.
Shop shelves across Belgium were stripped bare as
products were recalled and countries around the world
banned imports of Belgian food products.
The government announced on Saturday that any food
which might have come from animals fed with the suspect
feed would be removed from the food chain and destroyed.
It said the positive sample was the first to be found after 15
previous tests at the company had proved negative.
Alain Bauduin, the boss of Bauduin-Cambier, said at first he
believed the sample had shown up contamination by an
insecticide sprayed on grain used to make the feed, but he
told Belga news agency on Saturday night that he could not
exclude the presence of PCBs.
He said only feed delivered after April 20 posed a potential
The European Commission, the executive of the 15-nation
European Union, has been informed of the problem so it
can alert all other EU states.
Separately, Gabriels has prepared a draft law to ban the
processing of livestock carcasses into meal for feeding to
other livestock. The proposal will be put to next Friday's
meeting of the Belgian cabinet, Belga reported.
Similar moves are already under discussion at European
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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