CAIRO: Hamdy El-Sayyed, head of the Doctors’ Syndicate and chairman of the People’s Assembly’s (PA) health committee, denied news reports claiming that the committee is discussing a complaint regarding the shipment of cancerous food into Egypt.
The health committee, he said, is however discussing a new testing method to be applied on meat and fish, to check for dioxins – a chemical of highly toxic potential, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
El-Sayyed explained that currently the ministry tests both local and imported meat and fish for “chlorinated substances, and approves their shipment should the results come back negative.
However, a health committee member urged the ministry to test for dioxins for its harmful effects on humans.
El-Sayyed promised to investigate the matter further, referring back to international regulations “which the ministry always implements he said.
However, testing for dioxins can be costly, El-Sayyed indicated.
According to the WHO, dioxins are mainly byproducts of industrial processes. The highest levels of these compounds are found in some soils, sediments and food, especially dairy products, meat, fish and shellfish. Very low levels are found in plants, water and air.
Short-term exposure of humans to high levels of dioxins may result in skin lesions, such as chloracne and patchy darkening of the skin, and altered liver function.
Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions.