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Health & Consumer Voice - February - 2011 Edition

EU response to the dioxin crisis

The issue of dioxin incident in Germany was discussed during the Agriculture Council held on 24 January in Brussels, where Ministers assessed the situation with regard to the latest developments. After having managed the emergency in close cooperation with the German authorities, the European Commission envisages imposing a strict separation between the production of fats for industrial use and fats used to manufacture components of animal feed.

Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli announced that the Commission is going to present the following four concrete measures in the upcoming weeks for debate and vote in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCOFCAH):

  1. The compulsory approval of establishments manufacturing, treating and marketing fats and fatty acids.
  2. The separation/segregation of production streams will be examined very thoroughly.
  3. With respect to dioxin monitoring, a strict plan for sampling and analysis for critical materials in fat producing plants will be established. It may also be appropriate to cover other activities in the feed chain by increased monitoring. A dioxin data-base, for instance, is already established within the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
  4. The extension to private laboratories of reporting obligations of positive findings could also be included in a potential package of reinforced dioxin monitoring.

"The proper management of the dioxin incident in Germany is of utmost importance for the Commission and must be pursued with urgency and effectiveness. My services and the German authorities are in permanent contact and the level of cooperation is very good. The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed as well as the traceability mechanisms in place at EU level have shown their effectiveness. In the coming weeks, I will explore with our EU partners and stakeholders ways to further strengthen our monitoring processes of dioxin in feed", Commissioner Dalli declared.

The European Commission is closely monitoring the situation with the German authorities and all relevant information related to this contamination incident will be immediately transmitted through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). A dedicated website has also been created regarding this contamination incident (http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/contaminants/dioxin_germany_en.htm).

Further information is available at:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/11/8&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en