National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority will be cleaned. Seven persons monitorised. Also, approx. 2,000 Ardealul cans containing horse meat ended up on shelves
Sixty-seven of the 1,335 milk samples sent for analysis tested positive, meaning they had aflatoxin that exceeded the level permitted in the European Union, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Daniel Constantin stated yesterday in a press conference. “That means approximately 5 per cent of the total number of samples. We are talking about 34 samples that were taken from dairy farms, 5 samples taken from milk collection centres, 8 samples from milk dispensers and 20 samples from processing units. All these were isolated cases, the products did not make it on the shelf and today they are safe for consumption,” Constantin stated.
According to the Agriculture Minister, it is clearly known which farms and collection centres currently have problems and it seems they will resume their production for the market in a matter of days. “All cases identified were isolated and the products were stopped before they went to processing. Everything found on the shelves at this moment is fit for consumption, it does not affect public health in any way. Hiding things hasn’t been an option for me or for USL,” Daniel Constantin underscored. The aflatoxin issue could not be ignored because it is a real problem that existed in Romania but that is currently under control, the minister added. He pointed out that the fodder was replaced in most farms that had problems and the farms are already supplying milk for the market. “The period of 2-3 days until the aflatoxin is eliminated has passed.
The others are monitored and there will probably be no more problems in the following period.”PDL Vice President and Senator Constantin Igas considers that the main culprits for the “milk scandal” are the Agriculture Minister and the former head of ANSVSA, money.ro informs. “I will ask Agriculture Minister Daniel Constantin for explanations on this scandal that has grown too much for the poor farmers,” Senator Constantin Traian Igas stated on Thursday in a communiqué.
According to him, daily losses run into the tens of millions of Euros because everyone stands to lose. “I am asking the minister why he didn’t wait for the lab results before making the announcement on the contamination with aflatoxin. I am asking him what measures the ministry will take in order to prevent the risk of a panic that will generate enormous losses for local producers. And I am also asking the minister how much did milk imports grow while Romanian farmers are dumping tons of milk on the fields every day,” Democrat-Liberal Senator Constantin Traian Igas stated.
Commercial fraud in forcemeat balls case
ANSVSA Vice President Vladimir Manastireanu announced yesterday that commercial fraud was at the heart of the case concerning the suspected presence of horse meat in beef forcemeat balls. Ploiesti-based SC Nicolin, the processing unit concerned, was fined RON 30,000. Vladimir Manastireanu, who heads the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) until the appointment of a new president, pointed out that the company is being investigated for tax fraud. The alert on horse meat present in forcemeat balls was finalized on March 18, the results showing that of the 1,920 800-gram cases on the market 1,358 were sold, the remaining 562 being impounded and destroyed. Likewise, the alert concerning the canned beef withdrawn from the market because it was suspected of containing horse meat was closed because the substitution percentage stood at only 1 per cent, only levels above that being considered fraud, Manastireanu added. Moving to the next problem, approximately 2,000 cans of “Ardealul” beef, which contain horse meat too, ended up on the shelves because they could no longer be withdrawn and blocked in warehouses, an Ardealul communiqué shows. According to the communiqué, the results of quantitative analyses show that the raw material used in two batches of “Ardealul” canned beef “accidentally came into contact with horse meat outside the company,” namely within the plant’s supply chain. Also, a press release posted on Thursday on the ANSVSA website shows that although the cans do not represent a risk for public health the company considers the situation unacceptable considering its internal quality standards and the products that are part of those batches will consequently no longer be put up for sale.
SC Productie Ardealul SRL ordered on March 8 the withdrawal of two batches of canned beef, approximately 30,000 cans, whose shelf life expired on December 5, 2014, and January 15, 2015, as a result of suspicions they were mislabeled, a suspicion that was partially confirmed by the tests conducted on March 13.