News 21 Feb 13

Macedonia Boosts Checks As Milk Fears Spread

Macedonia's food safety agency is boosting checks on dairy products in the light of fears of contamination by the cancer-causing toxin M1.

Darko Duridanski
BIRN
Skopje

Photo by: David Monniaux

Macedonia said it was conducting more tests as the scandal about milk contaminated with M1 in Croatia and Serbia was causing widespread concern.

“Macedonian milk is healthy and does not have toxins in it,” the head of the Macedonian Food Safety Bureau, Dejan Runtevski, said.

“We conduct regular monitoring in all dairies in the country and that proves that our domestic milk is healthy,” Runtevski told the media.

The bureau has not ordered the withdrawal from stores of Serbian milk that Serbia has already blacklisted.

The bureau said that for now it had only halted further shipments in order to carry out more inspections.

Last week, the food safety agency said it had intervened to stop any suspect Croatian dairy products reaching the country’s shelves, as the scandal erupted in Croatia.

Agricultural experts downplay the possibility of dangerous toxins being found in Macedonian milk simply because cattle had eaten mouldy Serbian corn - the suspected source of the toxins.

The Agriculture Inspectorate said no contaminated corn had been imported from Serbia.

“The results of tests on the corn from Serbia showed that it is safe and can be used as cattle food," it said.

"From recent monitoring we have no information that the level of aflatoxin is above the permitted limit,” Rumen Stamenov, director of the Agriculture Inspectorate, said.

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