EU's Alert System Works Very Well

Published online: Nov 10, 2004
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The European Union said its traceability and alert notifications systems worked well after the discovery of dioxin-contaminated potato byproducts in the Netherlands.

The European Commission coordinated the tracing of the chain of deliveries through the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.

Potato by-products, such as potato peels, were found to be contaminated by high levels of dioxins at a Dutch potato processing company. The byproducts are used for animal feeding.

As a result, all movement of animals from 162 farms in the Netherlands, eight in Belgium and three in Germany, which received the feed, has been put on hold.

Investigators found the Dutch company used so-called potato separator clay from a German company to separate high-quality potatoes from lower quality ones. This clay was found to be contaiminated by dioxins and appears to have in turn contaminated the potato peels used for animal feeding.

Movement of animals from the farms that have obtained the animal feed have been temporarily blocked by national authorities. Sampling and analysis of the potato byproducts delivered to the farms as well as of the farms' products of animal origin is ongoing.

An EU statement said analysis of the Dutch company's potato products intended for human consumption indicates that they do not contain unacceptable levels of dioxin.