Saturday, June 12, 1999
Embassies rush to certify safety
The work began yesterday after the Health Ministry requested importers, manufacturers, and distributors to obtain certificates from the country of origin to assure the public that their products were safe for consumption.
Embassies were also asked to furnish information on imports of their products, issue validated certificates to the companies and send in their reports to the ministry for approval.
On Thursday, Health Ministry control division director Datin Dr Harisson Aziz Shahbudin said the ministry would investigate the validity of food product certificate of each country "on a case-by-case basis."
Belgian Embassy First Secretary Marc Mullie said there was a need for a standardised form of certificates of all countries involved in importing foodstuff to Malaysia to avoid confusion.
"We are in constant contact with our government in getting the proper procedures to get certification that should be accepted by the Health Ministry," he said.
Mullie said the source of feed-fats said to be tainted by dioxin and its by-products had been destroyed.
Danish Embassy agriculture counsellor Esper Vibe Hansen said his government's investigations into the transport of food, animal feed and raw animal supplies from Belgium into Denmark was being carried out by the Veterinary and Food Administration unit.
He said his embassy would release certificates of assurance after the investigation.
A Swiss Embassy official said his government was looking at ways to issue the correct forms of certificates so that they could be distributed quickly to importers.
A French Embassy spokesman said the French Government had, since May 28, forbidden the sale and export of all suspected contaminated products which were linked to supplies from Belgium.
British High Commission official David Broom reiterated that his mission had received a letter dated May 28 from the Belgian authorities that no contaminated animal feed was exported to Britain.
A spokesman from the Netherlands Embassy said her government was working to ensure that valid certificates would be issued to the affected foodstuff importers.
She said none of the food products had any risk of poisoning.
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