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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Still Delivering Food Aid Despite Belgian Dioxin Scare

Food aid deliveries from the European Union to Russia, including meat supplies, are arriving as normal and there has been no impact so far from the Belgian dioxin scare, a senior EU official in Moscow said Monday.

"Trucks are crossing the border every other hour. There's 100,000 tons of beef to be delivered and the same amount of pork," said Gilbert Dubois, charg? d'affaires at the European Commission's Moscow delegation.

"For the moment there is no impact. To my knowledge there is nothing in our food aid for the moment which could have been tainted by dioxin," he said.

Belgium announced May 27 that carcinogenic dioxins had been found in fats used to make animal feed. Since then, Russia has banned imports of Belgian chicken, pork and pig fodder made from animal byproducts.

The EU is sending Russia $500 million worth of food aid to counter the impact of a poor grain harvest and ruble devaluation last year, which left Russia unable to pay for basic food imports.

But Dubois said most of the aid consisted of cereals and rice, adding that most of the meat came from Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and France.

He said very little meat, and possibly none at all, was from Belgium.

Interfax quoted Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shcherbak as saying Monday that Russia should introduce stricter veterinary controls on all food imports, including aid shipments, from all EU countries following the dioxin scandal.

"It's perfectly normal that the Russian authorities should take care of the health of the Russian people," Dubois said.

But he said no official request had been received.