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Tuesday, July 27, 1999 Published at 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK

World: Europe

Belgium to destroy pork products

There are calls for all pork products to be destroyed

The Belgian Government is recalling pork products containing more than 20% fat amid fears that items such as sausages and pate may be contaminated with the toxic chemical dioxin.

However, a European Commission official has said the commission wants the government to withdraw all pork products from sale.

Dioxin, which has been found in animal feed on Belgian farms, has been linked to cancer.

A brief statement following a special cabinet meeting on Tuesday said meat stocks from more than 200 pig farms, possibly contaminated by dioxins, would also be destroyed.

The farms were added to a government black list following the revelation last week that the dioxin crisis was more widespread than had been admitted.

Call to bin all pork

However, the latest announcement does not appear to be tough enough to satisfy all in the European Commission.

A senior veterinary official said the commission considered the Belgian Government should recall all pork and pork products in order to restore public confidence.

That would entail a huge operation to collect and destroy food already supplied to shops and restaurants.

The official admitted it would cost the government a small fortune.

Belgian farmers have already lost around $1.5bn of business after chicken, meat and dairy products were removed from shelves earlier this year.

Some farmers have warned they may go out of business as a result of the crisis.

Many countries are still enforcing a ban on all Belgian farm produce.

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