STC Number - 63

Information on dioxin

Maintained by: Unspecified
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: July 1999 G/SPS/R/15, paras. 17-22
Dates subsequently raised: March 2000 (G/SPS/R/18, para. 19)
June 2000 (G/SPS/R/19, para. 9)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/123, G/SPS/GEN/123/Add.1, G/SPS/GEN/123/Add.2, G/SPS/GEN/123/Add.3, G/SPS/GEN/123/Add.4, G/SPS/GEN/1051
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization
Status: Resolved
Solution: The European Union indicated that the issue was resolved (G/SPS/GEN/1051).
Date reported as resolved: 13/10/2010

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 1999, the European Communities provided information on the dioxin contamination which had occurred in Belgium in January 1999, and on the steps it had taken to manage the health risks. Many Members had responded by imposing trade restrictions. The European Communities stressed that there was no longer any justification for maintaining import bans, regretting that several Members had not notified their bans. The European Communities reserved its right to take action with regard to unjustified trade barriers.
Malaysia expressed disappointment to be receiving information at such a late stage. It would only be in a position to lift its import ban when it was fully satisfied that there was no more danger from EC products. Australia, Canada, Chile, Brazil, South Africa and the United States appreciated the information provided by the European Communities throughout the dioxin crisis. Australia and the United States had notified any action taken with respect to dioxin. Canada had banned Belgian imports, but was reviewing the products and areas covered by the ban. The Philippines indicated that its measures had taken into account the EC measures regarding dioxin, and were being reassessed.
The WHO noted that it had convened an expert consultation in 1998 to evaluate the tolerable daily dose of dioxin to which humans could be exposed without harm. Codex reported that at the July 1999 meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, countries had requested that an intergovernmental group prepare a code of practice on animal feed. The European Communities added that it had established a working group within its Standing Committee on Animal Nutrition which was examining legislation regarding animal nutrition to prevent future accidents.
In March 2000, the European Communities provided an update on the dioxin situation. While some Members had adjusted their trade measures as the situation evolved, others continued to apply unnecessarily strict measures. The European Communities looked forward to receiving answers to the questions it had raised in G/SPS/GEN/123/Add.3.
In June 2000, the European Communities explained that all previously restricted products could be circulated and exported without any additional certification. While there was a general acceptance by Members that EC and Belgian products no longer represented a health risk, some Members had neither lifted their measures nor responded to a January 2000 letter requesting that they remove them. The European Communities repeated that it reserved its right to take any necessary action with regard to unjustified trade barriers.