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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 27 E/135

(2000/C 27 E/164)


by Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(8 September 1999)

Subject: Dioxin measurements in foodstuffs

A letter issued in June 1999 by the German food industry body, BLL, states that the Belgian authorities are

declaring end products to be dioxin-free, although the proof is based only on extrapolations relating to seven PCBs. This extrapolation method may possibly be used in the used oil and lubricant field, but not in relation to foodstuffs.

1. Has the Council been informed about this reprehensible extrapolation method being used by the

Belgian authorities?

2. Does the Council agree that no arbitrary extrapolations should be carried out, owing to the serious

potential risks posed by PCBs?

3. Does the Council share my view that tolerance levels of 1-4 pg/kg are totally absurd and arbitrary,

and cannot guarantee that risks to health will be excluded?

4. When will the Council ask the Commission to set limit values for dioxins in foodstuffs and thereby

put an end to the scandalous situation in which no limits are calculated and there is irresponsible ‘self-

regulation’ by the food industry?

5. Is the Council aware that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recent studies which

show that many more PCBs (in addition to the mere seven named over here) are classed as toxic? Has the Council seen these studies? What conclusions will it draw therefrom?

(2000/C 27 E/165)


by Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(8 September 1999)

Subject: Lack of limit values for dioxins and PCBs

In view of the dioxin scandal in Belgium and the fact that recital 5 of the Commission decision of 3 June

1999 noted that no maximum levels for dioxin contamination are set for individual basic ingredients and foodstuffs and that there are no maximum levels for dioxins at international, Community or national level:

1. Why has the Council failed to request the Commission to set a limit value for PCBs, dioxins or other chlorine compounds?

2. When will the Council correct this omission?

3. When exactly can a directive or regulation containing such limit values be expected?

4. Is the Council taking steps to set up an independent, neutral foodstuffs monitoring centre at EU level?

5. Is it correct that there are no EU legal provisions for either animal or plant products that provide for maximum levels of PCBs?

Joint answer to Written Questions E-1569/99 and E-1572/99

(29 October 1999)

The Council discussed the issue of the dioxin contamination in Belgium at the earliest opportunity, as a result of which the Council, at its session of 14 and 15 June 1999, agreed a number of conclusions. The issue has been kept under review by the Council at every subsequent meeting.

On these occasions, the Council heard detailed presentations by the Belgium Minister on measures being taken in his country, and this presentation included reference to the extrapolation method.