– Number of farms closed by dioxin scare quadruples (Deutsche Welle)
– German eggs sent to UK and the Netherlands (BBC News)
Regional authorities in Germany have ordered the closure of 4709 farms across the country following a scare over dioxin contamination, the agriculture ministry says.
Most of the farms involved were in Lower Saxony, northwest Germany, and most of them were ones raising pigs, the ministry said in a statement.
Until the farms had been checked and found to be clear of contamination, they would not be allowed to make any deliveries.
It was in Lower Saxony that 2500 out of the 3000 tonnes of contaminated fatty acids at the centre of the alert were delivered in November and December, where they were used as animal fodder.
The firm Harles und Jentzsch in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein is alleged to have supplied up to 3000 tonnes of contaminated fatty acids meant only for industrial usage to about 25 animal feed makers.
Nine samples out of the 20 that were analysed showed dioxin levels higher, or much higher than legal, the Schleswig-Holstein ministry said.
The fat was therefore not allowed for consumption, it added.
The German government said earlier that up to 150,000 tonnes of feed were feared to have been contaminated.
The dioxin scare has resulted in a halt in production at about 1200 chicken, turkey and pig farms, most of them in northern Germany.
There are about 375,000 farms in Germany.
A dioxin level that exceeded legal levels in eggs was found in late December.
While the scare started in two German states, 11 are affected now including Hesse, the region around Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, and southwestern Rhineland-Palatinate which borders on France.
German authorities on Wednesday informed the EU’s executive commission and business partners that 136,000 eggs from contaminated German farms were exported to the Netherlands.
The European Commission said on Thursday the hunt for potentially dioxin-tainted eggs had also turned to Britain.
Dioxin, a by-product of burning rubbish and industrial activities, can cause miscarriages and other health problems in humans, including cancer.
January 7, 2011 – 11:44AM
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald