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June 09 , 1999 20:18PM




KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Bernama) -- The Belgium Embassy here today assured Malaysian consumers that they are at minimal risk against the discovery of dioxin in foodstuff in Belgium as few products are being exported here.

First Secretary Marc Mullie said products such as chicken and eggs, which are suspected to be contaminated with the dioxin, were not imported into this country.

However, Mullie said Belgium welcomed the Malaysian government's decision to order an immediate recall of all meat, eggs, dairy products andinfant formula produced in the European Union (EU).

"We want to assure the Malaysian people that they are not at danger. The products have been taken out as a precaution's a temporarily problem and not epidemic.

"The first concern of the Belgian authorities is, and remains, the health of consumers both in Belgium and abroad. Once we have traced farms that had used it, we can solve the problem," he said.

Furthermore, said Mullie, no cases of serious health problems to human had been noted since the detection of the contamination.

Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng, when announcing the ban on Monday, aid it covered all canned meats and dairy products from EU countries.

Mullie said it was difficult to list out Belgium products available in Malaysia but the embassy had several discussions with Health Ministry officials here to take the necessary actions.

He said consumers should look out for products produced between Jan 19 and Jan 31 this year as the contamination was believed to happened during this period.

He stressed that only a limited proportion of the Belgium agriculture production had been affected and that the measures taken by the EU did not in any way constitute a general embargo on Belgian products.

Mullie said his government had initiated an identification process of those companies which could have used contaminated fat from the sole identified fat-supplier.

So far, out of 3,266 firms, 2,546 have been declared clean and these firms are allowed to resume transport, slaughter and sale of their products and the European Commission has announced that member countries cannot refuse entry of products certified by the Belgian government, he said. -- BERNAMA


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