Swiss tighten-up recycling after dioxin scare from Belgian bottle bank bodge

The Swiss Government has tightened controls on recycling, following revelations that the dioxin/PCB food contamination scare that brought the Belgian government down at last Sunday's elections may have been due to the use of the wrong container at a public recycling point.

The Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL) has banned the use of recycled food oils from public collection points in the production of animal feed. From now on publicly-collected used food oil in Switzerland must be incinerated along with used mineral oils, and a certificate of quality from an independent laboratory has been made a precondition for the export of recycled food oils.

At public recycling points, containers for used food oils stand next to those for used mineral oils, making it easy to confuse the two. If the food oil is used in the production of animal feed, there is a risk of toxic substances finding their way into the human food chain.

SAEFL says there has not yet been any evidence of large-scale contamination of food oils collected in Switzerland, but that the Belgian incident was the result of “serious pollution of food oils by toxic substances originating from transformer oils.”

Catering oil that has been collected by specialised firms may continue to be used in animal feed, but this too will be subject to tighter controls.

Coca Cola products withdrawn in Belgium

Hot on the trail of the food scandal, the Coca Cola firm has been forced to withdraw all of its soft drinks from the market in Belgium after children became ill from consuming them. The drinks allegedly caused nausea and vomiting.
The Coca Cola company says the problem is limited to drinks from two plants, one in Antwerp where “defective carbon dioxide” caused an off taste, and another in its Belgian distribution system, where “a substance used in wood treatment has caused an offensive odor on the outside bottom of the can”.

According to The Guardian, the UK Government has warned consumers to check can labels for illegal imports from Luxembourg or Belgium, to ensure that they do not risk nausea and stomach cramps.

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