USDA Symbol Food Safety and Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
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Contact: Beth Gaston (202) 720-9113
Pager: 1-800-759-8888 PIN 1332897

Statement by Administrator Tom Billy
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service

June 11, 1999


"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is releasing from hold Parma hams from Italy and Serrano hams from Spain that had been on hold for potential food safety concerns. Because of the long processing times (cured more than a year) for these products, they were produced well before the potential contamination of feed with dioxin in Europe. FSIS continues, as a precautionary measure, to hold all other poultry and pork products from the European Union (EU) shipped since January. No beef slaughtered in the EU is imported into this country. FSIS is continuing to gather information from the EU and member states on these products and will only release products when sufficient information--including testing--firmly establishes that products meet U.S. food safety standards. As an additional safeguard for American consumers, laboratory testing of product shipped to the U.S. from European Union member states since January will be carried out to verify the safety of these products."



For Further Information, Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 690-0460

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