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Farm food ban in areas near French chemical plant fire

Prefecture of Normandy issues order banning harvest and sale of agricultural products farmed in 112 municipalities near Lubrizol factory blaze

Harvesting crops around the northern French city of Rouen, has been banned - as has the sale of produce of animal origin raised in the area - following last week's large fire at the Lubrizol chemical factory.

A total 112 municipalities have been listed in the ban. Fallout from Thursday's blaze could "liable to present a public health risk that requires us to take immediate measures on a precautionary basis", regional authorities said.

"The areas concerned are agricultural areas in the municipalities (...) on which smoke soot fallout from the Lubrizol plant fire has been identified," the document states, referring to "a suspected contamination linked to these fallout".

In decrees published at the weekend, the prefecture of Normandy said that any farm products likely to have been exposed to contamination would have to be destroyed.

Plant products not harvested before Thursday, September 26, the day of the blaze, must not be brought in, the prefecture ordered.

The ban includes milk, eggs, honey, farmed fish, fruit and vegetable crops, and animal feed.

Failure to comply with these measures "is punishable by sanctions", the prefecture said in a statement.

Read more: Rouen offered rooms across France after toxic fire

The 112 municipalities, in alphabetical order, affected by the order are: Argueil, Beaubec-la-Rosière, Beaussault, Beauvoir-en-Lyons, Bierville, Bihorel, Blainville-Crevon, Bois-Guibert, Bois-Guillaume, Bois-Héroule, Boissay, Bosc-Bérenger, Bosc-Bordel, Bosc-Edeline, Bosc-Guérard-Saint-Adrien, Bosc-le-Hard, Bosc-Mesnil, Bosc-Roger-sur-Buchy, Bouelles, Bradiancourt, Brémontier-Merval, Buchy, Cailly, Catenay, Claville-Motteville, Compainville, Conteville, Cottévrard,Criquiers, Critot, Dampierre-en-Bray, Déville-lès-Rouen, Doudeauville, Elbeuf-sur-Andelle, Ernemont-sur-Buchy, Slavelles, Esteville, Estouville-Ecalles, Flamets-Frétils, Fontaine-en-Bray, Fontaine-le-Bourg, Fontaine-sous-Préaux, Forges-les-Eaux, Fry, Gaillefontaine, Gancourt-Saint-Etienne, Grainville-sur-Ry, graval, Grumesnil, Hancourt, Handricourt, Haussez, heronchelles, Hodeng-Hodenger, Houppeville, Illois, Isneauville, La Bellière, La Chapelle-Saint-Ouen, La Ferté-Saint-Samson, La Hallotière, La Rue-Saint-Pierre, La Vieux-Rue, Le Héon, Le Mesnil-Lieubray, Le Thil-Riberpré, Longmesnil, Longuerue, Massy, Mathonville, Maucomble, Mauquenchy, Ménerval, Mésangueville, Mesnil-Maugier, Mont-Saint-Aignan, Montérolier, Mogny-la-Pommeray, Nesle-Hodeng, Neubosc, Neuville-Ferrières, Nolléval, Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville, Pierreval, Pommereux, Préaux, Quincampoix, Rébets, Rocquemont, Roncherolles-en-Bray, Ronchois, Rouen, Rouen, Rouvray-Catillon, Saint-Aignan-sur-Cailly, Saint-Georges-sur-Fontaine, Saint-Germain-des-Essourts, Saint-Germain-sous-Cailly, Saint-Martin-du-Vivier, Saint-Martin-Osmonville, Saint-Michel-d'Halescourt, Saint-Saëns, Saint-Saire, Sainte-Croix-sur-Buchy, Sainte-Geneviève, Saumont-la-Poterie, Serqueux, Servaville-Salmonville, Sigy-en-Bray, Sommery, Vieux-Manoir and Yquebeuf.

Lubrizol, the company that owns the factory, said the fire damaged a storage facility, a warehouse and an administrative building.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who visited the site on Thursday, said firefighters had removed “the most dangerous products” that could have caused further explosions.

But, he said, the smoke contained “a certain number of compounds which can be a health hazard", though there was no “particular danger” according to initial analyses.

The Lubrizol factory in Rouen is one 705 closely monitored 'high-threshold' factories on a list of 1,312 'Seveso sites' in France. Seveso is a European Union directive aimed at minimising risk from major chemical accident hazards. It is named after the 1976 Seveso disaster in Italy, in which tens of thousands of people were affected by toxic chemicals from a factory explosion.

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