Two officials sacked over aflatoxin affair

BELGRADE -- The Serbian government dismissed the Plant Protection Directorate director and Agriculture Ministry’s Veterinary Medicine Directorate acting director Thursday.

(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)

Jan Boćanski was dismissed from the position of the director of the Plant Protection Directorate and Ivan Soč as the acting director of the Veterinary Medicine Directorate over the aflatoxin affair.

According to the government release, the decision was adopted at the proposition by the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Ministry.

Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić announced that four employees of the Agriculture Ministry would be dismissed over the affair connected to the aflatoxin levels in milk that exceed the figures envisaged in the relevant law.

In addition to the dismissal of the two directors, Vučić also announced dismissals of the head of the Department for Health and Plant Quarantine in the Plant Protection Directorate and the Department of the Phytosanitary Food Safety Inspection within the Directorate.

The results of the milk analysis done at a Dutch laboratory show that no samples contain aflatoxin M1 in quantities higher than that allowed in Serbia, the Agriculture Ministry said on Wednesday.

According to the same data, 15 samples, or 31.25 percent, do not contain aflatoxin M1 in quantities exceeding those allowed by EU regulations.

The maximum legally permitted concentration of aflatoxin in the EU is 0.05 micrograms per kilogram. Serbia's current legal limit of aflatoxin is 0.5 micrograms per kilogram.

The Agriculture Ministry received from the EU reference laboratory RIKILT Wageningen in the Netherlands a report on the presence of aflatoxin M1 in 48 milk samples, which came from batches pulled off the shelves in Serbia on February 19, 2013.