Fears rise over meat

09:00, January 10, 2011      

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Global fears are rising over the safety of German meat after a cancer-causing dioxin was found last week in German meat and eggs, AFP reported.

South Korea became the first country to suspend pork imports from Germany, and Slovakia later announced a ban on poultry from Germany.

However, the European Union insisted that there was no need for a ban, and Germany moved to calm concerns over food safety with test results showing acceptable levels of dioxin in poultry and meat, according to AFP.

The European Commission accused South Korea of overreacting. Frederic Vincent, spokesman for European Health Commissioner John Dalli, told AFP that they would try to talk with the South Koreans to reassure them.

Slovakia's move makes it the first EU country to impose restrictions on German meat, after it suspended sales of poultry meat and eggs while it conducted tests to assess dioxin levels.

Russia's agriculture watchdog said it had stepped up controls on imported foods from animals, from throughout the EU, although it did not specify which ones fell under the tougher regime. The watchdog also warned that Russia could ban meat imports if it does not receive official information on the situation.

"The European Union still lacks a system to react urgently to cases that could be dangerous for animals and humans," the watchdog's spokesman, Alexei Alexeyenko, told the Interfax News Agency

Firms in Northern Germany are alleged to have supplied up to 3,000 tons of contaminated fatty acids meant only for industrial use to around 25 producers of animal feed.

Germany had shut down 4,700 farms to check for dangerous levels of dioxin and have destroyed more than 100,000 eggs.

The crisis moved swiftly beyond Germany's borders, with some 136,000 eggs from a suspect German farm exported at the beginning of December to the Netherlands and with the European Commission saying tainted eggs may also have been imported to Britain.

German restaurants in China currently have not restricted meat from Germany. A staff member at Der LanSgraf Peking told the Global Times that the restaurant serves meat imported from Germany, but they had not received any notification to stop serving.

Global Times
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