Hungarian group criticises German pork curbs

Hungary's main meat industry group on Friday called for the government to soften restrictions on the consumption and sale of German pork products, which the group says were exaggerated and damaging to the local industry.

German pig prices have collapsed since an alert on Jan.3 about dioxin in German animal feed which had been fed to hens and pigs, contaminating eggs, poultry meat and pork on the farms affected.

Hungary's farming minister ordered restrictions effective until Feb. 28 earlier this week even though laboratory tests had found no evidence of dioxin-tainted eggs or meat products originating from Germany.

Hog and pork products imported since Nov. 12 from Germany can now be sold or processed in Hungary only if they clear laboratory tests for dioxin. [ID:nLDE70I1G5]

"The decision damages the economic interests of the Hungarian meat industry, and it is a trade restriction measure hidden behind a seemingly food safety cause," the Hungarian Meat Industry Federation said.

The group said in a statement quoted by the national news agency MTI that it had taken the measures needed and suppliers were required to guarantee that their products did not originate from the areas or producers involved in the dioxin scare.

It said the ministry should work together with the meat industry to find more reasonable rules to guarantee food safety, which do not hurt business interests.

The European animal feeds industry association FEFAC on Friday called for European Union (EU) action to support the pig sector which it said said was facing a near market collapse in the bloc.

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