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FDA To Hold All Belgian Milk Products To Test For Dioxin Contamination.

FDA last week expanded its restriction on foods imported from Belgium to include milk products, including cheese. As a precautionary measure, FDA said all Belgian products containing milk will be held at ports of entry until laboratory tests prove the foods do not contain dioxin.

The move dovetails with restrictions announced earlier this month, which said the government would require tests for all egg products from Belgium, France and the Netherlands, along with European-made animal feed and pet food.

In January, animal feed fat made by a European company became contaminated with the toxins, which may cause cancer and other reactions if humans are exposed to low levels over long periods. The fat was subsequently sold to European animal feed makers and eaten by farm animals, which may have passed the toxins onto egg and milk products.

FDA said the action is a precautionary measure as the agency continues to believe that exposure of U.S. consumers to harmful levels of PCBs and dioxins is minimal as this is a one-time incident. In 1998, Belgium exported $3.48 million of cheese and $1.15 million of other dairy products to the United States, according to USDA figures.

Meanwhile, Peru's government said it stopped the distribution of 128 tonnes of powdered milk imported from Belgium after the discovery of dioxin in a batch destined for a food program.
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Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 28, 1999
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