Food Law News - EU - 2002

FSA Statement, 10 July 2002

CONTAMINANTS - FSA Statement on finding traces of MPA - an illegal hormone - in Dutch pig feed

The Food Standards Agency is aware of reports from the Netherlands that residues of the hormone, Medroxy Progesterone Acetate (MPA) have been found in pig feed and that residues have also been found in Dutch pigs. While the levels detected to date are not a cause for health concern, they are illegal in the EU.

MPA is a synthetic hormone. In the EU it is banned for growth promotion uses, but is authorised for limited veterinary use in ewes. In humans it can be used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women going through menopause and as a contraceptive in birth control pills. However, the levels found in pigs would not affect people eating meat derived from them.

MPA is thought to have been present in glucose syrup, a raw material used to make up the pig feed. The syrup was supplied to farmers by a specific pig feed producer in Belgium, which is no longer in operation.

The Agency welcomes the swift actions of the Dutch authorities to test all slaughtered animals and destroy any pig meat/pork products that test positive for illegal MPA residues, and will be keeping in regular contact with them.

The Agency has asked UK industry to ensure all imports of Dutch pig meat/pork products are free from MPA residues. There is no indication that either affected pig feed or glucose syrup for use in animal feed has been imported from the Netherlands.

The EC Commission is urgently investigating the situation and an emergency meeting, to be attended by the Food Standards Agency, is to be held in Brussels this afternoon (10 July 2002).

The FSA is also aware of investigations on the alleged supply of MPA contaminated glucose syrup to soft drinks manufacturers in Belgium, although initial reports indicate that large soft drink manufacturers such as Coca Cola and Pepsi and Belgian supermarkets are unaffected.

On the basis of the information available the Agency is not advising against the consumption of pig meat/pork products from the Netherlands. Further information and advice will be issued as necessary.

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