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Friday June 4, 6:39 am Eastern Time

HK withdraws EU pork,poultry products from shelves

HONG KONG, June 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong on Friday asked food retailers and wholesalers in the territory to withdraw pork and poultry products from four European countries because of a dioxin poisoning scare.

A government statement said the move followed information that animal feeds used in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands might have been contaminated by the cancer-causing chemical dioxin.

``The latest information indicates that feeds used on pigs may also have been affected,'' a government spokesman said.

``We, therefore, have to apply similar measures to pork and their products from these countries, same as what we have done to poultry, eggs and their products,'' he said.

The dioxin scare was the worst food crisis in Europe since the mad cow disease alert. The European Union has ordered the destruction of all chickens, eggs, pork and cattle products from around 1,000 Belgian farms that used tainted animal feed.

The crisis broke a week ago after it emerged that chickens on about 400 Belgian farms had been given contaminated feed with highly toxic dioxin.

Major Belgian supermarkets had already swept their shelves clear of chicken and egg products on Thursday -- including fresh pasta, mayonnaise and cakes -- when it became clear that the problem extended to both pork and beef, and possibly milk.

The United States has also said it will block imports of poultry and pork from the European Union because of the scare.


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