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Dioxin in pig and poultry

At the beginning of January German authorities advised that they were carrying out investigations and have imposed restrictions on a number of pig and poultry farms. As many as 4700 farms have been closed mainly in Lower Saxony and authorities had culled 8,000 laying hens. They believe as much as 3,000 tonnes of animal feed has been used with a high level of Dioxin contamination.

The feed was delivered to laying hen, fattening poultry and pig farms in Germany alone and two consignments of potentially contaminated eggs from affected farms were distributed to the Netherlands.

The contamination came from vegetable oils used in the production of animal feed.

A German feed manufacturer Harles & Jentzsch in Schleswig-Holstein said that for years it had been mixing waste from bio-diesel production into animal feed.

The company said that it had assumed that the fatty acid waste from palm, soy and rapeseed oil used to make bio-fuels and supplied by the Dutch company was suitable for animal feed.

The German bio-diesel company, Petrotec, which supplied the fatty acids to a Dutch feed dealer, said its products were for industrial lubricants only and not intended for animal feed.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency has been informed that following the distribution of 136,000 affected eggs to the Netherlands, these eggs were mixed with other non-contaminated eggs to make pasteurised liquid egg. Fourteen tonnes of this pasteurised liquid egg has been distributed to the UK.

The mixing of the liquid egg will have diluted the levels of dioxins and it is not thought to be a risk to health.

The danger comes from the accumulation of dioxins in the fat of animals consuming the contaminated feed. The level for eggs has been set to 3 pg TEQ (Toxic Equivalents) per gram egg fat (one egg contains approximately 6 grams of fat). The levels discovered in the contaminated eggs in Germany “far exceeded” these limits.

THIS CONTENT HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL FOOD HYGIENE

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