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Last Updated:[08-01-2011 03:40:42 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

German Dioxin-tainted Food Scare Heightens across EU

tradenews The contaminated eggs with toxic dioxin from Germany are panicking consumers across Europe as they are suspected to have entered the UK food chain. It is understood that 14 tonnes of tainted egg product sent to the Netherlands from Germany, destined for use in goods such as pastries and mayonnaise, had been re-exported to Britain.

Earlier this week, the German authorities said up to 3,000 tonnes of contaminated feed, which are only meant for industrial use - were sent to poultry and pig farms, and that eggs from some of the farms were then exported to the Netherlands for processing. 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.

The German agriculture ministry has said that 4,709 farms were being closed as a precaution, and the suspected toxin fed chickens about 8000 were so far culled. Eight of Germany’s 16 states were affected by closure order.

The European Commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent said in Brussels that it was still unclear if those eggs contained dioxin. However, tests of other eggs from suspected farms were found to contain up to five times the EU’s limit for dioxin.

But a statement from Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) read the tainted eggs were not thought to pose a threat. Dioxin is a by-product of burning rubbish and other industrial processes, and it can cause health problems in humans including cancer and miscarriages.

The German officials are reported to have promised, until the trail of contamination is fully ascertained and necessary action was taken, the farms would remain closed. In response to the embarrassment from the contamination scandal, the agriculture minister for Thuringia Juergen Reinholz stated “There is an urgent need for much stricter penalties against those who break the law when it comes to food and animal feed regulations.”

By Jose Roy

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