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The greek customers are not affraid of the dioxin in Germany

09 January 2011 / 13:01:22  GRReporter
3285 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova


After the troubling news that Germany had closed 4,700 chicken farms as a precaution against contamination with dioxin, we have decided to investigate whether the consumers in Greece are more cautious when buying meat and eggs and if in the country are imported products and raw materials from Western European countries. We looked for answers at the central Athens market Varvakios agora.


The closed market in downtown Athens is preferred by many Athenians and immigrants who live in the city because of the lower prices of the products. There you can buy everything that is offered by the super-markets, but it is far more colorful. The tour always begins with the meat market, right next to it is the fish market, and in the shops on the side are sold dairy products and sausages. The smells floating in the air from the packets of spices arranged on the shelves are mixed with the aroma of freshly ground coffee. On the opposite side are the stalls of the traders selling fruits and vegetables. And between them is the Atinas street that on Saturdays is constantly blocked by the illegally parked cars and the numerous visitors of the market.


And today, like every other Saturday it was crowded with shoppers. Even from a distance one could spot people with the typical naylon bags in their hands, who were coming back from the market.


Mr. Costas and his wife Ms. Mary come to the market every Saturday for the weekly purchases. They did not know dioxin has been found that in the food fodder delivered from the chicken farms and the pig farms in Germany. "We always buy meat that is produced in Greece," said the man and continued to compare the prices at the different stalls.


According to the vendors of the stands with meat hanging on hooks, people who ask whether the offered meat was not from Germany are very few. The media information has not affected at all sales of poultry and pork, which are being demanded the most. Either way, on all the signs with prices the retailers are mentioning the place where the animals were bred. The large signs with inscriptions like "chickens from Arta and pork from Chalcis" were attracting the attention of the buyers from big distance.


However is meat from Germany imported in Greece? Answers to the questions of GRReporter were given by the President of the meat dealers in the Athens market Kleantis Tsironis.


Do you import chicken and pork from Germany?


Let me first say that for years we have not imported meat from Germany. With regard specifically to the chicken meat, the Greek producers fully satisfy the market needs. We import very little, and it is from Italy. The same applies for the eggs as well. The information I have is that from at least 10 years in Greece we do not import fresh food from Germany. Until then we imported beef which now we buy from the Netherlands and especially France.


In the recent days, do you see some change in people's behavior? Are they more cautious about the origin of the goods?


For now, people are not very familiar with the events in Germany. The television channels have not yet devoted much attention to that and that is why, at least so far, no extremes which we have witnessed in other similar cases have appeared. But if the events are presented by the media with the familiar intense way then there will be a problem for us and it will affect the Greek goods as well. When people hear that chicken and pork have been contaminated they will prefer to buy beef and lamb. But you have to know that chicken and pork are the cheapest meats, they are "the food of the poor". Thus, in this difficult economic period once again will suffer the socially disadvantaged citizens.


The queue in front the specialized shop for eggs was another proof that people in Greece had not responded to the discovery of carcinogenic substance in the German products. According to statistics of the owner only one per cent of the customers mentioned the problem in Germany. "The eggs we offer are made in Greece. There was no outflow of customers" he said.


It was interesting the conversation we had with Mrs. Mitzia, who had just come out of the market with full bags in her hands.


Did you hear about the dioxin in Germany?


Yes, I heard and I was terribly surprised. I've always had big confidence in the German food products, because I know they have very strict controls there. I have lived in Germany for many years. Together with my husband we had a restaurant and almost every day we went to the central market to buy meat. Everything that was offered there had been inspected. Germans are very strict in these things. So this story made great impression on me.


Will you be more cautious in your purchases in the future?


No, I have no reason to be. I think in this case there is something strange. I find it hard to believe that Germans could do deliberately such a thing.


In the morning veterinarians from the inspection for food controls from the ministry of rural development and food started out inspections in the super-markets and shops that import food from Germany.

Tags: society dioxin food products
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