Aflatoxin regulations to be harmonized with EU standards

BELGRADE -- After analyses showed that 69.75 percent of milk samples contained increased levels of aflatoxin, the Agriculture Ministry has started changing regulations.

(www.sxc.hu)
(www.sxc.hu)

According to the Agriculture Ministry, the regulations on the maximum permitted level of aflatoxin in dairy products will be harmonized with the EU standards in a procedure that envisages harmonization of several other food safety bills so they would not be contradictory.

A Dutch lab said in its report that almost 70 percent of milk samples contained levels of aflatoxin higher than 0.05 micrograms per kilogram. Two samples even contained more aflatoxin than the new maximum permitted level of 0.5 micrograms per kilogram.

Other analyses, that were performed in Germany at a request of Vojvodina’s Agriculture Secretariat and Agriculture Secretary Goran Ješić, have shown that levels of aflatoxin in milk are even higher.

Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić announced on Monday that the maximum permitted level of aflatoxin in milk would be returned to 0.05 micrograms per kilogram within 15 days.

The Agriculture Ministry later said that the permitted aflatoxin level would be reduced in the “next few days” and that “gradual implementation” was considered.

The increased levels of aflatoxin in dairy products in Serbia and several Western Balkan countries were discovered in mid-February. The Serbian government raised the maximum permitted level of aflatoxin in milk from 0.05 to 0.5 micrograms per kilogram on February 28 in order to “protect Serbian milk producers”.

The agriculture minister has stated several times that all dairy products available in stores are completely safe to consume. He reiterated the claim today, adding that the aflatoxin affair was political.