Make your own free website on

Dioxin contamination


Brussels, 5 June 1999

Press Release

Measurements that the Belgian government is taking in fighting the dioxine crisis.

The care for public health is a priority in the measurements that the Belgian government is taking in fighting the dioxine crisis. The government wants to reinstall the trust of the citizen and suppliers quickly by delivering healthy and safe products to the market place. This has also a positive impact on the protection of export and employment in the business sectors concerned. The Belgian government will also execute the decisions taken by the European Commission.

A lot of animal fat, containing a high dioxine concentration, has been supplied to a limited number of cattle-fodder companies. It has been retrieved that the supplier concerned has delivered goods to 10 Belgian and 2 foreign companies. By no means, there is a general contamination involved, as also the European Commission recognizes.

To be able to supply the market place with safe products, it is necessary to identify the chicken, porc and cattle businesses which have used the fodder. A first list of products will be available soon. Until that time, the government has given an overall prohibition on slaughter and distribution until June 8. An exception has been made for emergency slaughter of chicken, for which a number of slaughter houses have been contacted. These animals will be destroyed. As much as possible this date will be moved forward. As soon as the businesses, having received suspect fodder, have been identified, all animals of other companies will be released and can be delivered to the market place. In the course of next week, porc and cattle from  suspect  companies can be further limited after further fodder testing. Animals from companies remaining  suspect  can be certified after more testing or will be destroyed.

As of next week, safe supply to the market place can be assured by non-suspect companies.

With respect to products that are on the market place as well as derived products :

As dioxine contamination of chicken and eggs has been proven, all supplies of poultry and derived products have been taken off the market as of June 1. When it has been proven that these products do not come from suspect companies, they can be brought back into the market place, if not they will be destroyed.

As for porc and cattle, no contamination has been determined so far. Therefore they will gradually be taken off the market as well as their derived products. Beca use dioxine, if it should be present, is concentrated in fats, the government has decided to publish a list of Belgian meat products with a high percentage of fat. These need to be taken off the market by Sunday at the latest. With respect to the implementation of the general rule of the European Commission, the government will contact the Commission on Monday and will await the discussion of the veterinarian committee.

With respect to the practical implementation, the government will meet tomorrow with the professional organisations concerned.

Products with high fat percentage :