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April 1, 2023

Danone withdraws dairy products suspected of aflatoxin contamination

The fear of buying milk is rising among consumers. Samples test positive in Giurgiu.

Approximately seven tons of milk and dairy products will be destroyed in the county.

Danone Romania preventively pulled from the market some products that could contain traces of contaminated milk and blocked in its warehouse another 75 tons of dairy products after it discovered aflatoxin in the milk delivered by one of its suppliers, the producer announced on Monday, Mediafax informs. “The process is taking place very rapidly and we are doing all efforts to finalize it by the end of the day,” a company communiqué shows. As a result of the national alert concerning aflatoxin, Danone Romania decided to take supplementary and voluntary self-control measures beyond the legal monitoring and control obligations and the plan authorized by the authorities, including by buying its own equipment for measuring the content of aflatoxin. “No milk suspected of containing aflatoxin exceeding legal limits is accepted in the plant,” the company pointed out. Approximately 7 tons of milk and dairy products will be destroyed in Giurgiu after Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate (DSVSA) inspectors got hold of the laboratory results, adevarul.ro informs. The samples taken last week, after the start of the aflatoxin scandal, from the milk plant in Giurgiu and from six other dairy farms in the county have revealed surprising results. According to DSVSA Giurgiu director Petre Patentasu, the level of aflatoxin in four samples exceeded the legal limit – measuring 0.0058 per cent as against 0.0050 per cent. Immediately the decision was taken for the milk and dairy products from which the four samples were taken to be destroyed to prevent any danger. He claims the problems were generated by the fodder given to cows, the fodder being contaminated. “In none of the four cases we are talking about storage conditions but about fodder that was contaminated with Aspergillus,” Petre Patentasu stated, underlining the fact that the concentration of aflatoxin is higher in winter months. “Consumers should rest assured,” the DSVSA director stated, calling on calm and stating that there is no reason for worry. “The milk and dairy products from those units were withdrawn so there is no reason for worry. The citizens can consume both milk and dairy products without fear,” Petre Patentasu stated. Although Petre Patentasu avoided revealing the names of the units in which the contaminated milk was discovered, it seems that the dairy company in Giurgiu momentarily stopped its activity because the milk that it received had problems. The Giurgiu-based company cooperates with dairy farms in Calarasi, Ialomita and Teleorman. DSVSA Giurgiu inspectors will continue to conduct controls that will target both the fodder and the dairy farms in the county and will constantly take samples.

Milk in Cluj County, in line with requirements

It seems Cluj has avoided contaminated milk fears. Food Safety representatives in Cluj have taken samples from milk producers and processors in order to establish whether the milk is contaminated with aflatoxin. The results were negative. Cluj County Prefect Gheorghe Vuscan stated that the situation in Cluj is under control. “Farmers in Cluj County were affected by these scandals, despite the fact that we kept things under control here, there were no problems.” DSVSA Cluj director Nicolae Pivariu stated that a false alarm was created at national level, the milk in Cluj County being in line with requirements.The Romanians’ trust in the safety of milk sold in stores dropped as a result of the intensive media coverage and deficient communication on the issue of aflatoxin contamination, two out of every five consumers stating that they stopped buying milk after the first information appeared, a Rogalski Grigoriu Public Relations analysis shows.

Sorin Minea: Food scandal – orchestrated

The latest scandals the local food industry has been dragged into unveiled quite a few irregularities regarding not just the nature of the food we are eating, but also the lack of transparent action in the sanitary-veterinary sector (ANVSA), interests governing the  industry, a black market of food escaping checks and controls. Romalimenta President Sorin Minea told ‘Bursa’ newspaper that the meat scandal had been orchestrated by an old stakeholders’ group seeking to destroy the National Sanitary-Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) exactly because it does its job by sustaining a constant monitoring and control programme. ‘I cannot help noticing that papers and documents keep popping up in the course of ANSVSA investigations, which can only be harmful for both parties involved – investigated operators and ANSVSA. There are inspectors who wish to cause scandal by ‘leaking’ documents from investigations, because they have lost their positions’. Minea also notes that, currently, there is a black food market financially protected by certain ‘smart guys’ who do not like that the Authority does it duty. ‘There was probably a time when checks were not being conducted properly and many companies were getting their certificates under dodgy conditions.

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