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Belgium says "no general contamination" of meat

Reuters Story - June 04, 1999 18:45

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BRUSSELS, June 5 (Reuters) - The Belgian government reassured the public on Saturday that there was no general contamination of Belgian meat despite a scare over cancer-causing dioxin found in animal feed.

A government statement, issued after Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene held a marathon meeting with top ministers, said tests on pork and beef had found "no effective presence of dioxins." However, pork and beef products from suspect farms would be gradually removed from sale.

The government said that if dioxins were present in pork and beef, they would be concentrated in fat.

It said it was therefore publishing a list of Belgian products with high-fat content -- including minced pork, sausages, bacon and pate -- wihch would be removed from sale by Sunday at the latest.

Europe's most serious food scare since the "mad cow" crisis broke a week ago when it emerged that chickens on about 400 Belgian farms had been given feed contaminated with highly toxic dioxin, rocking Dehaene's government just before the June 13 election.

Later, officials disclosed that some pork and beef farms may also have received contaminated feed. The widening scare has led to the European Union and countries around the world imposing restrictions on Belgian meat products.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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