11 June 1999
Angry Belgian farmers blockade roads
BELGIAN farmers and butchers attempted a road blockade yesterday in an attempt to halt food imports from France and the Netherlands.
Belgian producers have suffered in the wake of the scare over animal feed contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical dioxin.
Meanwhile, the Belgian government found itself in trouble with the European Commission, after declaring that potentially contaminated food was in fact safe.
Commission officials have criticised the Belgian government for its handling of the food scare.
Slaughter of cattle and pigs is set to start again after the government declared that farms that had not received contaminated feed could sell their products again.
But the slaughter ban will remain on the 17% of beef farms and 40% of pork farms that may have received contaminated feeds.
About half of the countrys chicken farms are still the subject of slaughter bans.
Belgium has confirmed that dairy sales would continue from all farms, against the instructions of the Commission.
The Financial Times reports that the food scare – dubbed “Chickengate” – has dominated campaigning for the series of elections taking place in the country.