USDA Symbol Food Safety and Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
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(202) 720-9113; FAX: (202) 690-0460
Contact: Elizabeth Gaston
Carol Blake

Statement by Administrator Thomas J. Billy
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service

August 2, 1999

        "Based on information that FSIS has received from Germany, we have released German products from port-of-entry hold for distribution to consumers. Between Jan. 1 and May 31, 165,873 pounds of pork came to the U.S. from Germany.

        "Meat and poultry products produced in European Union (EU) member states have been on hold at U.S. ports-of-entry since June 3, because feed contaminated with dioxin and PCBs may have been fed to animals in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The hold was necessary because of concerns that open trading among EU member states may have spread contamination beyond its original boundaries.

        "On July 20, FSIS announced release of product from Spain, France, and the Netherlands; on July 2, FSIS announced release of product from Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; on June 18, FSIS announced it was releasing product from Denmark; and on June 11, FSIS released Parma ham from Italy and Serrano ham from Spain because of the long curing times for these products.

        "Product from Belgium, Austria, and Italy (except Parma ham) remains on hold until information and test results give FSIS assurance that they are safe for American consumers."


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