Belgian agriculture official arrested amid pig-feed scandal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety agency, Polychlorinated biphenyl, Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins

A senior official at Belgium's Agriculture Ministry has been
arrested following the discovery of new cases of pig feed that had
not been tested for cancer-causing chemicals.

A senior official at Belgium's Agriculture Ministry has been arrested following the discovery of new cases of pig feed that had not been tested for cancer-causing chemicals, reports Reuters.

Public prosecutor Louis Denecker said he had asked magistrates to arrest Gilbert Houins, director of one of the ministry's inspection divisions, who was questioned by police following raids at the ministry and animal feed producers.

"We believe that Mr Houins tried to falsify some documents,"​ Denecker said.

Houins is also suspected of giving incomplete information to the authorities and refusing to hand over documents concerning the testing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Denecker said he would continue to investigate Houins and hoped to make a formal charge next week.

The actions follow the resignation earlier this month of the head of Belgium's food safety agency, after the Health Ministry found nearly 60 samples of pig feed made by a local compounder had not been tested for traces of PCBs.

The food safety agency found traces of PCBs in pig and chicken feed in January. Animals that ate it were sent for slaughter and the meat entered the food chain but the agency said there was never a danger to public health.

The agency was set up in 1999 after a scandal broke out over cancer-causing dioxins entering the food chain through animal feed, leading to Belgian meat and dairy exports being banned by many countries around the world.

Related topics: Regulation, Safety, Swine, Europe