27 July 2001

Dioxin clampdown

EUROPEAN food safety commissioner, David Byrne, is planning a clampdown on cancer-causing dioxins entering the human food chain.

A proposed new strategy will see the European Commission setting specific dioxin limits on a range of food and feed products. Mr Byrne said he wanted to rebuild consumer confidence after numerous health scares. The rules will take effect from Jan 1, 2002.

"Our ultimate goal must be to reduce the release of dioxins into the environment," he said. "At the same time we need to decrease the presence of dioxins in feedingstuffs and foodstuffs so that exposure falls below the tolerable weekly intake recommended by scientists."

The European Commission estimates that food contributes over 80% to the average daily intake of dioxins. The main sources of dietary exposure are fish, milk, milk products and meat, it said.

The Brussels-based Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition believes fish oil and fishmeal of European Union origin are the most heavily contaminated feed materials. &#42