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From: TSS ()
Subject: Consumer Groups Charge Germany Exports Bone Meal Illegally
Date: February 21, 2007 at 10:04 am PST

Consumer Groups Charge Germany Exports Bone Meal Illegally

07:14 PM, February 21st 2007
by News Staff

German companies have illegally exported more than 50,000 tons of ground-up remains of dead animals to Russia, Vietnam and Bangladesh and other nations, a German consumer activist group, Foodwatch, claimed in Berlin Wednesday.

It said the meat and bone meal (MBM) from German slaughterhouses should not have been sold to those countries because Germany had no food-safety agreements with them. Berlin-based Foodwatch charged that government officials had colluded in the exports.

MBM is widely used to add protein to pet food, but is banned from use as cattle food in most countries for fear that it may taint meat with "mad-cow disease" or bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE).

It can be freely traded within the European Union, where it is often burned to generate energy. Unusable scraps left over when animals are butchered are passed to the rendering industry and converted to MBM.

Foodwatch said that without EU agreements, it was possible the customer nations would feed the meal to farm animals. It charged that German companies and animal-health authorities were acting outside the law and could possibly be endangering people.

The German Agriculture Ministry in Berlin said it was aware of a case last year in Latvia where MBM bound for Russia was discovered. A spokeswoman said such exports were not legal, but it was up to Germany's 16 states to check for breaches.

Opposition Free Democrats in Berlin demanded the government report next week to parliament's consumer affairs committee.

Foodwatch said it had filed complaints with prosecutors against two slaughterhouse and a fertilizer company from Lower Saxony state and against the authorities of four counties, Diepholz, Vechta, Emsland and Oldenburg, part of a major meat-growing region.

Foodwatch head Thilo Bode said his association had uncovered significant shipments to Russia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. He charged that the companies and authorities were "in cahoots."

© 2007 DPA


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