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Thursday, June 10, 1999

Contamination occurred between Jan 19 and 31

By Zulkifli Abd Rahman and Zulkifly Mohamad

RELATED LINKS
«»Food items suspected to be contaminated
«»Milk formulas on the Health Ministry list
KUALA LUMPUR: The suspected dioxin contamination of foodstuff produced in Belgium occurred during their delivery between Jan 19 and 31, the Belgian Embassy said yesterday.

The dates were announced by Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene in Brussels yesterday, First Secretary Marc Mullie said in a statement.

Dehaene also said that only three companies had so far been positively identified as the sources of contamination.

The Belgian veterinary and public health authorities had been able to establish that only one supplier delivered contaminated fats, said Mullie.

He said his government was identifying companies which could have used contaminated fat from the sole fat supplier.

Mullie said that as at yesterday, 2,546 of 3,266 poultry producers were found to be clean and have been allowed to transport, slaughter and sell their products.

He said the prohibition of the sale of butter was still maintained while the sale of milk and cheese was allowed.

He said the Belgian Government gave its assurance to consumer countries that only a limited proportion of the Belgian agricultural production had been affected by the contamination.

Mullie said no cases of serious health problems to humans were reported since the detection of the contamination.

Access the Belgium Government's homepage at http://belgium.fgov.be/ for more information.

In Penang, Universiti Sains Malaysia's National Poison Centre has assured the public that food products from Europe, except those originating from Belgium, were safe for consumption.

Its director Prof Dr Zulkifli Abdul Razak said yesterday it was wrong to impose a blanket ruling on food products from the European Union.

"Unless the sources of the products are determined, it is not right to implicate them directly in the dioxin scare," he said.

Prof Zulkifli said he was in Europe last week and discovered that only certain items from Belgium such as dairy products, medication and pork were contaminated with dioxin.

He also said that the centre, which was equally concerned with the level of dioxin in the atmosphere, would undertake a six-month nationwide environmental dioxin study.

He said industrial processes and exhaust fumes emitted by the increasing number of vehicles had been identified as the main contributors to deteriorating air quality.





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