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Germany’s Food Safety Alert

  • January 10th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

battery-hens-aactorg1.jpgSome 4500 poultry farms have been shut down in Germany with the government threatening prosecution over the contamination of eggs and chicken meat with dangerous dioxins.

The trouble started at the end of December when an agricultural company reported that fats intended for use in biofuels got mixed into animals feed.

An international alert was issued as checks showed use of the feed, used initially in North Rhine-Westphalia, then Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, had been distributed further afield.

Inspections revealed dioxins –chemical compounds associated with cancer – present in chicken meat and eggs, including liquefied egg being sent to other countries for making such products and cakes and quiche; with several countries now putting a ban on German imports.

Chicken products and pork from the listed farms has been wikthdrawn from markets, and the German government says it may soon initiate legal action over the contamination.

The country is a leader in consumer food consciousness and safety standards, keeping 375000 producers under rigorous regulation.

It moved two years ago to begin implementing new European Union regulations to provide more humane space for birds, ahead of the EU schedule.

That action generated complaints in the industry, as Germany is a net importer of eggs, producing 70% of local needs, and there were fears that cheaper products would flood in from outside.


See EUAustralia Online: “Chooks out of the box”, 4.1.09;
“Strong economy, chickens and other species …”, 11.5.07.

The Guardian, Manchester, AP, “German minister threatens legal action in dioxin scandal”, 9.1.11., (10.1.11).

Deutsche Welle, Bonn, “Dioxin egg scandal spreads across Germany”, 3.1.11.,,14749195,00.html, (1o.1.11).