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High levels of dioxin found in German pork

The Local · 11 Jan 2011, 14:47

Published: 11 Jan 2011 11:36 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Jan 2011 14:47 GMT+01:00

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"A test on the meat has shown high levels of dioxin content," Gert Hahne, a spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry in the state of Lower Saxony, told news agency AFP. "The animals must be slaughtered and will then be incinerated."

Previous tests had found higher than permitted levels of dioxin, which can cause cancer, in eggs and in three chickens, according to the federal Agriculture Ministry.

Authorities destroyed around 100,000 eggs and late on Thursday Germany closed down around 4,700 of its 375,000 farms across the country while tests were conducted.

The northern German farm at the centre of the latest alert was one of thousands supplied with animal feed containing suspect fatty acids. As a consequence it was among those shut down, meaning it could not have moved or sold its pigs.

The firm which supplied the ingredients is suspected of knowingly selling some 3,000 tonnes of fatty acids meant only for industrial use.

Pork from a second farm nearby was found to have levels of dioxin close to the maximum permitted level, the state's agriculture ministry said in a statement.

The suspect firm, raided by police last week, supplied around 25 companies which mixed the fatty acids in up to 150,000 tonnes of contaminated feed that was then delivered to farms around Germany.

South Korea suspended imports of German pork and Slovakia halted sales of German eggs and poultry meat last week, measures criticised by the European Commission as disproportionate.

Most of the 4,700 farms have since been reopened, however, and the government had voiced hopes that others would swiftly follow suit. As of Monday, 558 farms were still subject to restrictions.

The government has said throughout that there was no immediate risk to public health, and that it believed none of the suspect animal feed was exported.

Story continues below…

The European Commission said on Monday, however, that some feed was in fact exported to France and to Denmark. Around 136,000 eggs were also exported to the Netherlands, some of which ended up in Britain.

Demand for organic eggs, which are unaffected by the scare, has shot up, experts and shopkeepers said Tuesday, while anecdotal evidence suggests that sales of organic meat are also on the rise.

The German government has vowed to crack down hard on those behind the scare and has said it wants to look at tightening regulations in order to prevent a repeat.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:28 January 11, 2011 by cklb
I would still assume, that German food is one of the safest, as they at least find out about bad practices on a regular basis. Unfortunately exactly that leads to mistrust of the public....
14:36 January 11, 2011 by freechoice
any plans to BBQ those dioxin infected swines?
14:41 January 11, 2011 by auniquecorn
I´ll bring some beer.
15:14 January 11, 2011 by storymann
Lets eat the Ham and eggs..
16:20 January 11, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
the sad thing is, the more this scandal spreads, the more farmers will go out of business. Farmers who bought feed from that Dutch company in good faith and now see their livelihood threatened...

But it isn't just the Dutch company itself that is to blame - how could this elude Dutch agriculture authorities? Doesn't anybody do checks anymore?
17:26 January 11, 2011 by lecturenotes2009
@ i seedaftpeople: i tried to read the article again and again, but found no statements at all it is dutch company selling the feed. Are you okay? or too much dioxinated- porky-dorky BBQ and eggs already?

17:48 January 11, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
maybe I got that from another news source, but I am pretty sure it is in fact a Dutch company. Dutch or not, it doesn't change the fact that it is going to drive a lot of farms into bankruptcy.
18:37 January 11, 2011 by maxbrando
It is a good sign that German authorities seem to have come clean on this one. It is much better than the UK, Belgium and Italy and others who have tried to hide bad news in the past because it hurts business. I can also find no reference to Holland in the press. But unless their government comes up on line and reports, Holland is also one of the "guilty bastards".
18:43 January 11, 2011 by lecturenotes2009
ah, too often visiting the coffee shops, the porky goes dorky... hahahha
19:54 January 11, 2011 by storymann
I know that pig...
20:10 January 11, 2011 by lordkorner
That is one pretty pig,in fact I'd go as far as saying that that pig has as much character as Arnold on Green Acres .
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