26 July 2002

Dutch hormone feed crisis grows

MORE Dutch pig farms were banned from slaughtering their animals this week as the numbers affected by the hormone-in-feed scandal continued to grow.

Last week Brussels gave permission for restrictions to be lifted on up to 7000 units which had received contaminated feed – so long as the pigs had eaten clean rations for at least seven days.

But this week the Dutch agriculture ministry confirmed that another 5000 pig farms had used the medroxyprogesterone-acetate laced feed, and were being banned from slaughtering or exporting live animals.

The problem has arisen as glucose syrup containing MPA was supplied by a Belgian processor, Bioland, to a number of Dutch pig farmers and feed compounders. The syrup contained waste sugar water from an Irish-based company, Wyeth, which coated hormone pills for humans.

Fertility snags

The problem was first picked up in May when three pig farms in the Netherlands observed fertility problems in their sows.

"We are shocked by this breakdown in the feed and food safety chain, caused by a clear case of fraud on the part of the waste disposal companies, who wrongly classified hormone waste as safe," said Yves Montecot, president of European feed manufacturers body, FEFAC. &#42

As FW went to Press on Wednesday, (July 24), EU vets were meeting to decide what to do next, and in particular how to respond to a unilateral ban on Dutch pigmeat by Italy.