Franz Fischler said "precautionary steps might be needed" and did not rule out the possibility of an EU-wide ban on Belgian eggs and chickens. The European Commissioner said that seriousness of the incident should not be underestimated, an incident that concerned solely the Belgian authorities to start with. "We have to wait for the precise findings of the research carried out at the behest of the Belgian Ministry of Agriculture, but there might be one or two lessons to draw on a European scale", according to the French Farm Minister, Jean Glavany, who said that intensive farming methods cast a shadow over procedures for controlling this "blasted meat and bone meal".The EU Standing Veterinary Committee is due to meet on June 1 and 2 to consider the issue. The European Commission services have already prepared proposals for Community measures, should these prove to be necessary. According to officials close to the Commission, firm EU or national action is required to ensure products posing risks for consumers are no longer marketed in the Community. There could be a ban on marketing products from installations that have been declared suspect or a ban on exports of animal fat given as feed to chickens, or more generally, stricter measures could be taken such as an embargo on exports of chickens and eggs from Belgium (and other countries). The Commission also has to consider whether Belgium has broken Community rules about providing an early warning in the case of a danger for consumers, as press reports suggest that the animal fat that went into the chicken feed was contaminated back in January.Inspections for food already consumed.Representatives of the Belgian Agriculture Minister's delegation admitted that breeding chickens (not intended for human consumption) fed on contaminated feed have already been delivered to Spain, France and the Netherlands and in the case of France and the Netherlands there was also a question of exported animal feed containing the contaminated fat. Germany, too, has received a batch of contaminated chicken feed. However the Belgian delegation said the fact has to be faced that most of the contaminated supplies have already been eaten by animals or by the population.The Belgian Ministry of Agriculture said the French and Dutch authorities were notified, but in order to anticipate the imminent general storm over the contaminated...

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