Aigner calls for state support at dioxin summit

Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner on Tuesday urged state officials to implement a federal action plan that aims to prevent future food contamination ahead of special government summit on the dioxin animal feed scandal.

Aigner calls for state support at dioxin summit
Photo: DPA

“I expect that the states will stand behind this plan and do their part to increase quality and monitoring, and improve inspection practices,” Aigner told daily Hamburger Abendblatt.

The minister said she was confident her plan would be approved because it also includes points suggested by opposition parties the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the environmentalist Greens.

Among the details are mandatory registration for animal feed makers and private testing laboratories, a strict separation of production lines, and broader legal guidelines for feed inspection.

Aigner and state agriculture ministers have also spoken in favour of reviewing criminal punishment for those responsible for the dioxin contamination that closed thousands of German farms and contaminated countless eggs and pork products in recent weeks.

“The punishments must be strengthened significantly – three years or a few thousand euros are no real deterrent,” Thuringian Agriculture Minister Jürgen Reinholz told daily Leipziger Volkszeitung.

But Reinholz said he was uncertain that Aigner’s plans for closer cooperation between states and the federal government is appropriate.

“The states are already in a position to conduct the necessary inspections themselves,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalian Consumer Protection Minister Johannes Remmel echoed these concerns.

“If the federal government wants to pay for the inspections itself, it can do that,” he told daily Frankfurter Rundschau. “But more importantly, we must strengthen states and communities so they can be more active on-site.”


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