November 24, 2003



EU Further Ease Poultry Inspections From Thailand

The European Union has further eased inspections of poultry from Thailand, ruling that there aren't any increased risks of residues of cancer-causing antibiotics in the food.

Veterinarians from the EU's 15 member states agreed to abandon the existing practice of testing 20% of all Thai poultry shipments and instead carry out random tests for nitrofuran - standard procedure for any food imports into the EU.

Nitrofurans are veterinary drugs whose use in food-producing animals is banned in the EU due to health concerns, including a possible increased risk of cancer in humans through long-term consumption.

The EU began testing 100% of Thai chicken and shrimp in March 2002 after traces of nitrofuran were found some shipments. Blanket inspections of shrimp were eliminated earlier this year and chicken inspections reduced to 20% after Thai authorities moved to control the problem at the source.

Most countries ban the use of nitrofuran and chloramphenicol in livestock. Thailand banned their use as well, but had not strictly enforced the ban.

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