/ Papers fuel food contamination scares
THREE of yesterday's newspapers led with alarmist stories about
contaminated food being sold and the lack of government controls.
Haravghi, under the headline, "Fears grow about contaminated food", said
that foodstuff from Belgium, which could contain dioxin, could still be
found on supermarket shelves. It accused the Ministry of Health of refusing
to make public the brands of products that could be contaminated.
State health services officials advised the public to read the labels on
"suspicious" products to establish whether these had been produced in
Belgium between January and June. Officials added that only the brand names
of products that had been given a clean bill of health would be made
public; documentation to this effect was expected from Belgium and the EU.
The Paediatric Company had recommended that Belgian-made baby food should
not be consumed at present.
Simerini, under the alarmist headline, "Animal fodder - death in Cyprus",
claimed that the "unsuspecting Cypriot consumer" was eating meat, dairy
products, milk and eggs which contained carcinogenic mycotoxins and
antibiotics. According to a top official in the state services,
agricultural organisations and vets, there was inadequate control of the
quality of imported animal fodder and the unregulated administering of
antibiotics and chemicals to livestock.
Given the inability of the state to exercise effective control, meat and
dairy product containing mycotoxins and antibiotics were being sold to the
public. Some cases had been reported in the past, said the paper, claiming
that there had been incidents of large numbers of animals being poisoned by
contaminated animal fodder.
Politis made revelations about the use by restaurants and hotels of
adulterated olive oil, which was a major health hazard as it increased the
risk of heart disease by reducing the ability of the oil to fight
cholesterol. The adulteration resulted from the mixing of virgin olive oil
with cheap seed oils, something which is illegal.
The paper's revelation had been confirmed by the general manager of Cyprus
Olive Products Marketing Board. However, the chairman of the Restaurateurs
Association claimed that the people responsible for the adulteration of the
olive oil were the suppliers.
Phileleftheros led with a different type of scare story, reporting that the
Finance Ministry was considering the imposition of Value Added Tax on
immovable property. This is part of a government plan to reform its
taxation policy on immovable property in order to bring it in line with the
EU as well as increasing government revenue.
VAT would be imposed on the sale and transfer of immovable property. The
move is designed to simplify the taxation regime for immovable property and
to put the issue of rent control on a different basis. It also hopes to
settle the issue of listed buildings by offering tax incentives to owners.
Alithia reported that the road to peace in Yugoslavia had been opened by
the decision of the Group of 8 (seven richest countries plus Russia), after
a marathon round of negotiations, for a draft agreement that was submitted
to the UN Security Council for approval. As part of the plan, the Nato
general secretary had been authorised to end the bombing of Yugoslavia as
soon as Serb forces began their withdrawal from Kosovo.
Machi reported that the draft agreement had satisfied all the demands that
had been made by Nato.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999