EU launches action against Belgium

22 June 1999

EU launches action against Belgium

THE European Commission has launched legal action against Belgium over its handling of the recent food scare caused by cancer-causing dioxins in livestock.

The European Unions executive said Belgium had broken EU rules because it had not informed its EU partners soon enough about the contamination.

Belgium also failed initially to respect emergency measures on withdrawing food from distribution, said the commission.

Belgium has 10 days to respond to the commissions views.

EU countries have lifted or are lifting bans on Belgian produce, but many countries outside the union have retained their embargoes.

The US, which initially banned EU pig and chicken products, has agreed to resume imports of Danish pork.

Belgian food manufacturers estimate that the scare could cost the food industry at least £470 million.

Farmers are claiming compensation but the commission is likely to resist calls for EU funds to be used.

See more