• Germany's news in English

Milk banned from cows given carcinogenic feed

The Local · 2 Mar 2013, 10:55

Published: 02 Mar 2013 10:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Fears were raised on Friday when it emerged thousands of farms had been feeding livestock feed containing 30 times the acceptable limit of the cancer-causing substance aflatoxin.

The source was traced back to 10,000 tonnes of a Serbian shipment of contaminated maize which found its way into animal feed delivered to 3,560 farms in Lower Saxony, including 938 dairy farms, the state's Agriculture Ministry said on Friday.

Aflatoxin is produced by the Aspergillus species of mould which can develop when food is stored in warm and damp conditions.

Milk from cows which have ingested aflatoxin – one of the strongest naturally-occurring carcinogens - is “particularly dangerous,” said Udo Paschedag, state secretary of the ministry on Friday.

The poisonous feed was also delivered to non-dairy farms in North Rhine-Westphalia and used in compound feed sent to Saxony, Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony Anhalt. The carcinogen was also detected in feed in Rhineland Palatinate on Saturday - but authorities could not yet say whether it originated from the same Serbian shipment of maize.

However meat and eggs from the thousands of chickens, pigs and cows also fed the contaminated feed poses little risk to human health, said Paschedag.

Animal feed manufacturers have played down the risk posed from milk containing low levels of aflatoxin. The contaminated milk had been diluted with milk from other farms and so posed no danger for consumers, said Bernhard Krüsken, spokesman for the German association of animal feed manufacturers (DVT).

“We assume the milk is ok,” he said and pointed to quality control checks carried out by milk producers.

Story continues below…

But criticism grew over the weekend as the scale of the contamination became known. Either the manufacturers had failed to detect the contaminated maize, or they “had consciously accepted the health risk for consumers,” Renate Künast, head of the Green party parliamentary faction told the regional Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper on Saturday.

Paschedag blamed feed manufacturers for choosing “cheap” ingredients and questioned the standards of the food quality control system. This is not the first time aflatoxin had made its way into animal feed - the German Minstry for Agriculture issued warnings to that effect last October, he said.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:28 March 2, 2013 by whiteriver
some time ago it was the fault of Spanish cucumber, then Egyptian raisins, then Romanian horse meat, now it's Serbian maze... All this food contamination happening in Germany and the news never say it's Germany's fault.
15:54 March 2, 2013 by raandy
you have a point, whiteriver, Spain lost millions over the cucumber debacle.

It seems that food safety and truth in labeling rules and regulations need more enforcement, and stiffer penalties.There is a disconnect here with food safety.
18:09 March 2, 2013 by gorongoza
Food scandal after food scandal. Disaster is lurking around the corner. Wait and see - I mean for those who will be lurky to survive.
21:44 March 2, 2013 by sonriete
Not one word of concern for the animals who were fed cancer causing food. Only concerns raised on behalf of the humans who drink the milk intended for calves. What a world we live in.
Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd