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Friday June 4, 5:39 am Eastern Time

Cyprus blocks animal feed cargoes in dioxin scare

NICOSIA, June 4 (Reuters) - Cypriot authorities have blocked animal feed shipments from four European countries pending health checks in the wake of the dioxin food scare in Belgium, officials said on Friday.

They also said that importers of Belgian egg-based foodstuffs -- mayonnaise and bearnaise sauce -- had been asked to withdraw their products from the local market.

``We will detain all imports of animal feed from Belgium and other countries which received contaminated feed until we conduct some inquiries with the competent authorities and get assurances it is safe,'' said Pavlos Economides, director of the veterinary department.

He said the countries named in an EU report as having received contaminated feed from Belgium were Holland, Spain and France.

Three cargoes of Belgian animal feed were now in quarantine at Limassol port. Economides said authorities would seek assurances from Belgium that the feed was not contaminated before releasing it.

Cyprus is relatively self-sufficient in meat production. It has not imported chicken or eggs from Belgium for at least two years so there is no problem in that respect, Economides said. He said the problem with the suspect sauces was ``small.''

Sources said that three brands of mayonnaise were affected but the authorities did not release the names. They contain more than two percent egg and could therefore represent a risk.

Biscuits are not in the risk group because the amount of egg used in production is minimal, Economides said.


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