Yeo urges more protection after Belgian food scare

07 June 1999

Yeo urges more protection after Belgian food scare

By FWi Staff

AGRICULTURAL Minister Nick Brown has been criticised for failing to take action as worries about the Belgian food scare spread.

Mr Brown has advised worried consumers to avoid eating pork, beef, poultry, or products derived from them, including dairy products, produced in Belgium.

But Tim Yeo, Shadow Minister for Agriculture said that it was simply not good enough for Nick Brown to advise people to “chuck it away” if they are worried about food in their fridge.

“People have a right to expect more protection from the Government than that,” he said.

Mr Browns advice came as he signed an emergency order under the Food Safety Act which came into effect on Saturday.

Fresh precautionary measures from the European Commission were also announced last Friday.

These require Belgium to ensure that no further products from the affected farms are distributed.

Rather than being a complete blanket ban the Belgium authorities will be required to produce lists of all affected farms, and its suppliers. Those farms affected will be completely closed off, said a MAFF spokeswoman.

But as the food scare escalates in Belgium, optimism is growing here in the UK that this could provide a much-needed boost for British Agriculture.

Keith Baker, President of the British Veterinary Association said he hoped those retailers who have returned to sourcing meat and eggs from British farms will make the most of this marketing opportunity.

And the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) has announced an extension of an advertising campaign to reassure consumers about the safety of British pig meat.

Gwyn Howells, director general of the MLC made the announcement at a visit to a pig farm in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where he spoke to producers and industry leaders.

The advertising campaign, which highlights the British Meat Quality Standard Mark for pork, bacon and ham, is worth more than £100,000. This is on top of the £5.5 million already committed to launch the mark.

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