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Many More Pig Farms Closed over Dioxin Scare

by 5m Editor
7 January 2011, at 11:46pm

GERMANY - The agricultural ministry has announced that over 4,700 farms have been closed as a precaution after fears of dioxin contamination in animal feed. Many of these are pig farms, closed as a precaution. Egg products from contaminated eggs have been exported to the UK.

The German agriculture ministry has said that 4,709 farms are being closed as a precaution until it can be determined whether they are free from contamination from dioxin, reports Deutsche Welle.

Nearly all of the farm closures are pig farms in the north-western state of Lower Saxony.

This number is more than four times the previous number of farms that were being shut down after it was revealed earlier this week that an additive found in animal feed was tainted with dioxin in several German states.

Tougher EU regulation

Late yesterday, 6 January, German Agricultural Minister Ilse Aigner called for stricter, EU-wide regulation on animal feed to better protect consumers and farmers.

She also spoke with European Union Health Commissioner, John Dalli ,on the telephone.

"In the coming weeks, I will explore with our EU partners and stakeholders ways to further strengthen our monitoring processes of dioxin in feed," Mr Dalli said in a statement after the conversation.

Eggs spread beyond Germany

Deutsche Welle reports that the scare began when a German firm in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein allegedly supplied up to 3,000 tons of contaminated fatty acids – which are only meant for industrial use – to animal feed-makers.

The feed was delivered mostly to pig and poultry farms, and eggs from some of the suspect farms were exported to the Netherlands. As a result, around 8,000 chickens from German farms were culled.

Earlier in the day, it was revealed that some of the suspected eggs made it to the UK. But 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.

Dioxin is a by-product of burning rubbish and other industrial processes. It can cause health problems in humans, including cancer, and miscarriages, concludes the Deutsche Welle report.

Statement by EU Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy

John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, has commented on the dioxin incident in Germany today.

He said: "The proper management of the dioxin incident in Germany is of utmost importance for the Commission and must be pursued with urgency and effectiveness.

"I have contacted yesterday afternoon Mrs Ilse Aigner, German Federal minister for Food, Agriculture & Consumer Protection and was given the latest state of play of the situation. My services and the German authorities are in permanent contact and the level of cooperation is very good. The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed as well as the traceability mechanisms in place at EU level have shown their effectiveness.

"In the coming weeks, I will explore with our EU partners and stakeholders ways to further strengthen our monitoring processes of dioxin in feed."

Further Reading

- You can find out more on the dioxin incident in Germany from the EU by clicking here.


Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.