News last update:6 Aug 2012

Dioxin and PCB found in Swiss meat

Dioxins and Polychloride Biphenyl (PCB) have been found in Swiss meat, according to a report by the Swiss Farmers Association. A random sample investigation revealed that the levels exceed the maximum EU permitted levels.

A bilateral agreement between the EU and Switzerland states that Switzerland is required to reduce the current levels of these substances even though the amounts have lowered in the last few years. For this reason, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) has announced that it is carrying out research into the levels of dioxin and PCB in meat.

Focus on PCB
Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station (ALP) and a number of Federal Research offices will investigate why levels of these substances are higher than in neighbouring EU countries. The focus will be on PCB. They hope to found out which factors influence PCB in meat (seasonal fluctuations, geographical situation, age of animals and weather conditions) and the links between PCB in meat and in feed.

No higher risk
The BAG has stated that there is no evidence of a "higher risk" through consumption of Swiss meat. On the other hand, it does acknowledge that part of the population of Europe is consuming more than the WHO-recommended amounts of residues.

Dioxins and PCB can enter the food chain via contamination of feed and accumulate in the fat of animal food products. They can be found in pork, beef, veal and poultry.

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