2 August 2002

Dutch to cull pigs in hormone scare

DUTCH pig farmers will start destroying their animals next Tuesday (Aug 6) in a bid to rid the sector of the problems arising from animal feed contaminated with the hormone, medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA)

The farms involved are part of the 55 that received the suspect glucose syrup direct from Belgian processor Bioland for home mixing and were deemed to represent the highest risk to the human food chain.

"These farms were given a choice," said a Dutch ministry of agriculture spokeswoman. "They could test the meat for hormone residues and then sell it or destroy their animals."

According to Jack Luiten, of the Dutch farmers union (LTO), 27 farms have opted to slaughter about 50,000 pigs as the cost of testing is too high at around k200 (£126) for each animal.

As FW went to Press, the farmers were still negotiating a compensation package.

"Consumer groups have lobbied government to let the animals live," he told FW. "But, even though EU law would allow us to sell the meat on the home market, supermarkets have told us they will not take it. Its insane."

The problem has arisen because 77 Dutch feed mills bought glucose syrup derived from an Irish-based pharmaceutical company that was coating pills for hormone replacement therapy. &#42