European dioxin problem deepens

Germany to ramp up feed safety controls as dioxin-contaminated feed enters the food chain
January 12, 2011

European dioxin problem deepens

It had been hoped that the dioxin contamination that started from poultry and pig feed in Northern Germany and resulted in thousands of eggs being destroyed, and farms closed had contained the problem but it has been discovered that the feed has also been sold in France and Denmark. Now German authorities say dioxin has entered the food chain.

Reuters reports that government officials in Lower Saxony confirmed that pork from some 100 pigs from a farm in the state which had received contaminated feed had been sold before the farm received a closedown order. It was confirmed last week that eggs from the German farms had been exported to the Netherlands, and some were subsequently processed and shipped to Britain for human consumption.

The tainted feed was initially found in Germany, but it has been exported to Denmark and France, an EU official said on Monday. However, Frederic Vincent, European Commission health and consumer spokesman said that in Denmark the feed was used for products for breeder hens, while in France, the concentration of dioxin was lower than the maximum levels allowed for animal feed.

German Federal Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said a major dioxin monitoring system was needed for the animal feed industry. She will announce a feed safety plan this week.

South Korea and China have suspended imports of pork and egg products from Germany. Russia has said it might impose tougher controls on German exports.