05 August 1999
EU slams Belgium over beef testing

EUROPEAN Union veterinary experts have ordered Belgium to test all beef destined for export for the presence of cancer-causing dioxin.

The order has been made in the wake of a submission last week by Belgium that the risks to its beef were so small that testing was not necessary.

Belgium agreed at that time to test all pork and poultry exports, rather than rely on a previous system of tracing products back to uncontaminated farms.

The testing of beef, which will require over 3000 tests to be made each week, is likely to slow down the countrys export trade.

Belgiums farming industry has been enveloped in crisis ever since the government revealed two months ago that highs levels of dioxin had been found in poultry.

The contamination is thought to have occurred after motor oil found its way into recycled fats used in a batch of animal feed.