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Europe

Thousands of German farms closed in dioxin scare

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-07

Some 4,700 German farms have been preemptively closed after reports emerged of dioxin contamination in animal feed. Eggs from some of the affected farms are believed to have been exported to Britain and the Netherlands.

REUTERS - Eggs from German farms affected by an alert over dioxin contamination in animal feed have entered Britain in processed products destined for human food, the EU executive said on Thursday.

German authorities said this week that up to 3,000 tonnes of animal feed contaminated with highly toxic dioxin was sent to poultry and hog farms, and eggs from some of the farms were then exported to the Netherlands for processing.
 
Operations at around 4,700 German farms have been preemptively closed, mostly in Lower Saxony, the German Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday, until it can be proven the products do not present any danger of contamination.
 
"Those eggs were then processed and then exported to the United Kingdom ... as a 14-tonne consignment of pasteurised product for consumption," European Commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent told a news briefing in Brussels.
 
"Whether it went into mayonnaise, pastries, I don't know. So we will probably take a look at this with the UK authorities and see what was done with these eggs," he said.
 
Vincent stressed that while the processed eggs had come from farms in Germany where the contaminated feed had been distributed, there was no evidence whether or not the eggs had contained dioxin.
 
But tests on other eggs produced by the affected farms in Germany had been found to contain up to five times the legal EU limit for dioxin, Vincent said.
 
"The levels detected don't pose a risk to human health. You would have to eat a lot of eggs, or a lot of processed products made with these eggs, in order for this to actually pose a risk to human health," he added.
 
Dioxins are toxins formed by burning waste and by other industrial processes and have been shown to contribute to higher cancer rates and to affect pregnant women.
 
The origin of the feed contamination has been traced to a distributor of oils for animal feed production in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where oils meant for industrial use in biofuels were distributed for animal feed.
 
German officials will brief their EU counterparts in Brussels next week on the status of the contamination, but the incident could lead to new EU rules to avoid the mixing of industrial and animal feed oils during manufacture, Vincent said.

 

 

Date created : 2011-01-07

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