September 10, 2008


Belgium probes tainted chicken shipments between EU, Ukraine



Belgian authorities are investigating how chicken meat not fit for consumption was exported from Europe to Ukraine and then returned in the form of hamburgers and sausages, media reported Tuesday (September 9).


Some 1,400 tonnes of tainted meat were seized in Ukraine and at least four companies in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands have been implicated, the Het Laatse Niews and La Derniere Heure dailies said.


The four countries were hit by a 1999 scare over chicken feed contaminated by dioxin, which can cause cancer. The meat was reported to have been set aside during the scare, and later exported clandestinely to Ukraine.


The Belgian federal prosecutors' office confirmed that an inquiry has been launched, but declined to comment on many of the details raised in the press.


"The exact origin of the meat remains unknown," said spokeswoman Lieve Pellens, although she acknowledged that "there is a link with the dioxin crisis."


La Derniere Heure said 32 freight train wagons with dozens of tonnes of the tainted chicken meat were recently seized by Ukrainian authorities at the Polish border.


The export papers for the shipments had been falsified, it said.

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