Like Belgian chocs, French pate, German sausage? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

From tomorrow's E. Telegraph:

Sewage feed scandal goes Europe-wide By Jo Knowsley, Countryside Correspondent, and Julian Coman

AT least three more European countries have been accused of adding sewage to animal feed - 24 hours after it was disclosed that French farmers were guilty of the same practice.

The use of sewage from animals and humans in feed is said to have taken place in Germany, Holland and Belgium. Pigs, cattle and poultry are thought to have been fed on it. Last night a food hygiene expert warned that the practice was "inherently dangerous" and could create a BSE-style health crisis.

Supermarkets expressed concern at the revelations. A Tesco spokesman said: "If any of these products from France or other EU countries were found to be unsafe, or the means of processing them unsafe, we would consider [banning them]."

The disclosure on Friday of a European Union report that some French meat had been produced from animals and birds reared on processed sewage caused outrage among British farmers, already angered over the French government's refusal to lift its ban on British beef.

But it now appears that the practice has occurred elsewhere in the EU, including Germany, a country which has a record of being obstructive towards British beef.

German authorities have denied the reports, but Dutch health officials have admitted finding human sewage being added during the manufacture of animal feed. It is apparently perfectly normal in Holland to add sludge from slaughterhouse water-purification systems to animal feed. At one plant, it was discovered that company lavatories were connected to the water system.

In Belgium, a regional farming report accused one waste-processing firm of using sludge to make feed. Ingredients are said to have included waste water from showers and lavatories as well as waste from abattoirs. The Belgian agriculture minister, Jaak Gabriels, has stated that the practice has ceased.

The EU banned the use of effluent in animal feed in 1991, but sludge from slaughterhouses, including faeces, is still commonly added to the remains of animals for the manufacture of meat-and-bonemeal (MBM). This was banned in Britain in 1996, but is still widely used elsewhere in Europe.

Last night Professor Hugh Pennington, who conducted the inquiry into the E coli food poisoning outbreak which claimed 21 lives in Lanarkshire three years ago, said: "This could be a re-run of the BSE problem, which started because we were recycling dead beef into beef.

"Clearly, the material these animals have been getting is potentially full of nasty bugs. It's a classic way of spreading disease by actually eating manure. Now that I know more about what's been going on, I wouldn't buy French."

Martin Callanan, a Tory MEP, called on EU officials to investigate the use of animal feed in all member states. He said: "The European Commission has insisted on high standards for our own producers. It's about time they insisted on the same standards for producers in other parts of the Continent."

British farmers want an investigation into European farming practices. They have long complained that the rigorous health standards they follow are not adhered to by all - enabling competitors to undercut their prices.

Conservative MPs want a ban on French meat, in accordance with British farmers' demands. But yesterday, Tony Blair backed the stance of Nick Brown, the Agriculture Minister, who has refused to ban French meat imports and has insisted that Britain "play by the rules".

Archie Norman, the shadow minister for Europe, said Mr Brown was passing up a "golden and legitimate" opportunity to act. He said: "We're not a nation of wimps and the public expect decisive action." He called for an immediate precautionary ban on all French meat products.

The European Commission said a questionnaire on the use of sewage sludge in animal feed had been urgently sent to all member states. A spokeswoman said that France, Germany, Holland and Belgium had claimed the problem had been resolved. But she could not guarantee that sludge was not still being used.

The Commission has already sent a reminder to member countries that processing "sludge from sewage plants treating waste waters" is prohibited.

-- Old Git (, October 23, 1999


Thank you for the heads up. I usually can't afford that stuff, but German sausage has been an occasional luxury. Some luxury! Oooog.

-- Margaret J (, October 24, 1999.

What I find amusing in this is that the Europeans have been oh so upset about American genetically modified foods, or our hormonally fed beef. Folks I'll take those over Sh*t feed beef any day!

-- kozak (kozak@formerusaf.guv), October 24, 1999.

Kozac, how do you know you're not getting that too???

-- Old Git (, October 24, 1999.

They feed cattle a lot of stuff in the US but sewage ain't one of em.

-- kozak (kozak@formerusaf.guv), October 25, 1999.

I think that sewage sludge is used by some of the big companies for fertilizer, in this country. That's why many people are choosing to eat organically grown food. (and the USDA was proposing last year to change the definition of the word "organic" to include food grown in sludge, as well as genetically modified food, and also irradiated food. But several hundred thousand people signed petitions, faxed and phoned Mr. Glickman's office in protest, and he decided not to make a decision at that time.)

-- Margo (, October 26, 1999.

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