Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-07-22-Speech-4-037"

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". (DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for conducting a very constructive and healthy debate on this difficult question. I would like to briefly add to certain points that have been raised. Firstly, the question of the applicability of the PCB tests for pork is still open. The problem, and this particularly applies to the Belgian Members of Parliament who have asked to speak on this issue, that we are still faced with is that as a prerequisite for using this test, parallel tests on dioxin and PCB content must be available so that a correlation can be established. In order to do this however, a minimum number of samples is required. Thus far, we have received a total of eight such samples from the Belgian authorities. This is far too few. As soon as we obtain the necessary results from the Belgian government, we are ready to implement the required measures immediately. A second issue which has been raised by many is the question of the use of Community funds to aid farmers who have been victims of this crisis. In my introductory remarks on this issue, I pointed out that in the area of market regulations, we have put in place a whole range of measures to alleviate the difficult situation in different areas. I also pointed out that we have thus far authorised eight national subsidies after notifications. However, as far as a direct Community subsidy for Belgian products is concerned, I have to make it clear that there is no basis in Community law for doing so. Ladies and gentlemen, I agree with those of you who have asserted here that the mixing together of substances which are highly contaminated with dioxins, and which is suspected here, is still a criminal act and not an animal illness. We can only pay compensation or subsidies where animal illnesses are concerned. (Applause) Mention should also be made of the fact that recently, there has allegedly been increased dioxin values in Germany. I do not want to leave this matter hanging as that would be unfair. What is the issue here? Several clay minerals were tested which are also partly used as binding agents in the production of animal feedingstuffs. In some of these clay minerals, increased dioxin values were actually found. This dioxin, ladies and gentlemen, is several million years old, and is therefore nothing new. So we must take care that these substances have also been tested where they are used in the manufacture of animal feedingstuffs. At the same time, this also demonstrates that it is not possible to have a zero dioxin value. Dioxin these days is an ubiquitous substance that can be found anywhere in the world and which also occurs, unfortunately, in our countryside. What we have to prevent, therefore, is the mixing together of dioxin-containing substances or at least ensure that such substances do not enter the animal feed chain via another route in spite of sufficient controls. In this regard, I am also of the opinion, Mr Graefe zu Baringdorf, that it is irresponsible that we do this by means of the dilution factor. That cannot be the plan. On the other hand, however, we must discuss further how we should deal with animal waste products in general. Things are actually not as simple as Mr Böge suggests. It is also illogical, for example, that it is permissible to cook soup for human consumption from cattle marrowbone, or that the cattle marrow is even served in restaurants as a delicacy, while its use is prohibited in the animal feed industry. Therefore, I am very much in favour of ruminants not obtaining their feed from materials which are animal in origin. Such a black and white policy in this area is not possible, however, if we do not want to run the risk of finding ourselves with enormous difficulties in terms of waste disposal. Ladies and gentlemen, a couple of small points to finish with which I consider to be important. Firstly, repeated mention has been made of the issue of safety and quality requirements and an appropriate label. Let me be quite clear on this point. We are not saying that if we have a quality label, we can, so to speak, permit a two-tier system as regards safety requirements. The safety requirements must be satisfied for every foodstuff; there can be no compromise on this. Of course, however, there have to be other possibilities for designating particular quality accordingly. In this regard, we have the resolution from Autumn ‘98, which I commented on at the time. My stance remains the same today. Last point: Hormone meat. On this issue I would like, ladies and gentlemen, to draw your attention to the fact that, the day before yesterday, the USA announced that they are abandoning, at least temporarily, the supply of hormone-free meat to Europe since they are not currently in a position to observe the guarantees required by us. As you know, however, we have made considerable changes to our regulations so that not only are spot checks carried out on imports but that every import is scrutinised. Just so you know!"@en1

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