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New animal feed contamination scare in Belgium


     BRUSSELS, May 20 (Reuters) - More than 200 Belgian farms have been placed under surveillance after the discovery of high levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in animal feed manufactured by a company in the town of Feluy.

     The government said in a statement that any food which might have come from animals fed with the suspect feed would be removed from the food chain and destroyed, along with feed made by the Bauduin-Cambier company.

     ``We've taken all the measures we possibly can to deal with this problem. It's lucky that we picked up on the contamination as early as we did, thanks to our testing programme,'' Agriculture Minister Jaak Gabriels told VRT-TV1 television.

     The latest Belgian food scare comes a year after the outbreak of the country's dioxin-in-food crisis.

     The crisis broke last May when carcinogenic dioxins entered the food chain via animal feed made with contaminated fats.

     Shop shelves across Belgium were stripped bare as products were recalled and countries around the world banned imports of Belgian food products.

     A spokesman for Bauduin-Cambier said the company suspected PCBs found in its feed may have originated in insecticides.

     The government statement said the positive sample was the first to be found after 15 previous tests at the company had proved negative.

     It said the European Commission had been informed of the situation. The Commission, the executive of the 15-nation European Union, operates an early warning system to inform all EU states of potential food health problems.

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