Radical changes needed to prevent repeat of aflatoxin scare
By Marianna Pissa


Source of Article:  http://www.cyprus-mail.com/news/main.php?id=40488&cat_id=1


FROM the import to the distribution of animal feed, the conclusion of investigation into the aflatoxins scandal showed that everyone was to blame equally.

Two files by investigating officer George Pattichis reached the Minister’s desk on Tuesday. “Aflatoxins definitely didn’t get here on their own” Pattichis said.

Pattichis was appointed by the Minister to investigate if the necessary checks were carried out according to law, regarding the import of animal feed to Cyprus, up until their final distribution to cattle-breeders, but also the testing of milk produced by animals that consumed the contaminated animal feed.

Pattichis said, “The copies of the report were delivered to the Agriculture Minister Michalis Polynikis and to the General Director of the Agriculture Ministry Panikos Pouros, and the evaluation depends on them.”

Two copies of the report were attached at approximately 150 pages each. In the first 21 pages the evaluation of the facts is given by Pattichis. After that are all the interviews which he conducted, all the documents of the imports, the tests that were carried out, and other evidence which lead to the conclusion that radical changes need to be made to the system of animal feed control.

“The investigation is separated in different parts, such as how aflatoxins showed up in the animal feed and in the milk,” he added. “Certain conclusions come up and in the end there are suggestions for ‘treatment’ of the problem to prevent this from happening again in the future”.

According to the report, five officials of the Agriculture department showed negligence in exercising their duty properly and if the Minister decides so, a disciplinary investigation will be carried out. The Civil Service law demands this when civil servants are concerned.

Pattichis pointed out “The weakest link in the affair is the way legislation is applied”.

Concerning the milk, Pattichis said that proper checks had been conducted and the public could rest assure that they are not in danger.



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