Screen Belgian milk for PCBs says EU science committee
Despite Belgian assurances that dairy produce is completely safe, milk from dairy farms affected by the current dioxin/PCB food contamination scandal in Belgium should be screened for PCB contamination says the EU's Scientific Committee on Food (SCF).
In an opinion on dioxins in milk derived from cattle fed on contaminated feed in Belgium which the scientists adopted on Wednesday, they recommend to screen all restricted farms with appropriately sensitive methods for the presence of PCBs in the milk produced at these farms.
If levels of PCB above 100 ng PCB/g fat are found, it is reasonable to assume that the milk has additional dioxin contamination associated with the incident and therefore additional analyses for dioxins should then be carried out to determine whether further action is necessary, says the report.
The SCF which studied the question together with a group of external experts stressed that these conclusions only apply to the current contamination event identified in Belgium.
Representatives of Belgian producers had claimed that since milk from affected farms was mixed with other milk, the dilution factor would ensure that levels of contamination did not pose any threat to human health. However, the SCF took the view that every effort should be taken to lower human exposure to dioxins and PCBs. It says the most efficient way to lower human exposure to these substances is to prevent entry of PCBs and dioxins into the food chain wherever possible.
The SCF report is linked below in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format
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