Dioxin contamination in feed hits poultry and pig farms in Germany

Dioxin contaminated fatty acids from biodiesel manufacturer cause of thousands of birds culled and farm sales stopped
January 4, 2011

Dioxin contamination in feed hits poultry and pig farms in Germany

Thousands of chickens have been culled and a stop has been placed on eggs, poultry and  pork sales from more than a thousand German farms since the discovery of dioxin contamination arising from animal feed. 

The feed was produced by  Harles & Jentzsch GmbH, Uetersen, Schleswig-Holstein. Bloomberg reports that Harles & Jentzsch said in a statement that it alerted officials in December to the substance’s possible presence, adding that, while some ingredients originated from Petrotec AG, a biodiesel maker, the dioxin’s source was unclear. Petrotec said fatty acids it produces are sold only for industrial uses.

A total 2,700 metric tons of contaminated animal feed was shipped to farmers in eight German states, with more than 90 percent of that volume ending up in Lower Saxony, Holger Eichele, a spokesman for Aigner, told Bloomberg.

FEFAC President Patrick Vanden Avenne expressed his satisfaction that compound feed industry own-control programs led to the discovery in Germany of the dioxin of fatty acids from the biodiesel manufacturer, which processes used cooking oils. He pointed to the fact that all compound feed companies that have received batches of the contaminated feed fats are fully cooperating with the competent authorities to trace all farms that could have been delivered compound feed containing the contaminated fats.

Avenne said that the implementation by the compound feed industry of own-control programs has substantially improved its capacity to detect dioxin contaminations entering the feed material supply chain. However, such incidents are regrettable and should not occur, given the track record of past contamination incidents, he stressed. The highly unusual dioxin congener profile indicates a different, yet unknown contamination pathway in the biodiesel industry, which must be verified without delay. He stressed the need to further improve traceability systems and testing plans at the level of suppliers of blended fats and mixed fatty acids, in particular when such companies are also manufacturing products for technical use.