EU does not send official information about contaminated sunflower oil to Ukraine

15:35, 06 May 2008
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The false information spread deliberately because of competitiveness at markets?

The Agricultural Policy Ministry of Ukraine has not received any official information from the European Union countries, in particular, from France, about contaminated sunflower oil.

According to an UNIAN correspondent, deputy Agricultural Minister of Ukraine Roman Shmidt claimed this to a press conference today.

“We have not been provided with any final conclusions and results of the investigation into this incident”, R.Shmidt said. He added that, probably, the Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Ministry will receive the information from the Agricultural Ministry of France.

If the incident really took place, the Ministry should inform us about it”, he noted.

At the same time, R.Shmidt pointed out that, according to his information, “the sunoil was delivered to France by a European company, it was not bottled Ukraine, and, moreover, it was not supplied for retail trade by Ukraine”.

According to the deputy Minister, this information reminds of a story, which happened 6-7 years ago, and was also connected with France. “The matter concerned the grain export from Ukraine to world markets, including to France. That time French mass media disseminated information that as if the Ukrainian grain, delivered to France, was contaminated with [insecticidal] dust, though dust was not produced in Ukraine for over 40 years by that time”, R.Shmidt said.

“I personally assess this information as merely a tough competitive struggle at world markets, in particular, at the sunflower oil market”, he stressed, adding: “I do not think Ukraine will take any concrete measures”.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Spain first alerted the European authorities to the mineral-tainted oil more than a week ago. The contaminated product was shipped into France as if from Ukraine and distributed to five other EU countries, including England, Italy and the Netherlands.

The oil contained "significant" levels of high viscosity mineral oil but this was judged by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU`s food safety watchdog, to be of low toxicity. The EC said it was no longer receiving any sunflower oil from Ukraine which had stopped the exports prior to the contamination becoming public.

Member States that had received contaminated sunflower oil from Ukraine were advised to withdraw all of the product from the market, including any foods containing more than 10 per cent of the contaminated oil.

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