The French Agriculture Ministry has today (28 March) directed shops to remove Italian buffalo mozzarella from shelves due to the ongoing dioxin scare.

The decision comes in spite of reassurances that buffalo mozzarella from the Italian region of Campania is safe for consumption.

Late last week high levels of cancer-causing dioxins were discovered in milk from 66 buffalo herds around the city of Naples.

The Italian authorities have quarantined these herds, temporarily shut down production at more than 80 cattle farms and reassured trading partners that mozzarella made from contaminated milk has not been exported.

However, a spokesperson for the French Agriculture Ministry told just-food that tests will be carried out to determine dioxin levels before shops are given the green light to resume selling Italian buffalo mozzarella.

"We are concerned about the safety of consumers," the spokesperson said. "For us, this is of paramount importance."