New German Dioxin Scare in Time for Easter – Updated

GERMANY - A new dioxin crisis has hit the state of North Rhine–Westphalia (NRW) as the toxins have been found in eggs from one organic farm, which supplied local supermarkets, as well as two smallholders selling directly to the public. The source of contamination has not yet been identified.
calendar icon 5 April 2012
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Just days before the Easter holidays, local authorities in North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) have closed an organic farm in the state following the discovery of dioxins in its eggs, reports Welt. The farm had been supplying local supermarkets.

In the middle of the pre-Easter egg season, inspectors in NRW have identified dioxin-like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in eggs on an organic farm with 25,000 layers, according to the state’s Ministry of Consumer Protection.

A ministry spokesman declined to identify the farm or its exact location but the unit has been closed.

In explanation, it was said that eggs from two of the farm’s four houses contained up to six times above the maximum limit for dioxin-like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). PCBs can be equated with the principle of dioxin, the spokesman said.

While the source of contamination has not yet been identified, the ministry statement said that an investigation is in full swing, including whether reporting obligations had been met.

The state authority said it had received notification of the issue on 26 March and immediately launched an official inspection. Dioxins are reported to have been found ‘well before’ this date. According to the spokesman, the Ministry was informed on Monday (2 April) about the official findings.

According to the report in Welt, elevated dioxin levels were measured in eggs from all houses but in two of the houses, the levels were not considered to be highly dangerous. The spokesman stressed that consumption of contaminated eggs will have no immediate adverse impacts on health but long-term impacts could not be ruled out as a result of long-term consumption.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry is currently planning a recall. Contrary to an initial announcement, contaminated eggs have been found in shops and several batches have now been recalled from sale.

According to the Ministry, daily output from the farm was about 23,000 eggs. Eggs from the affected farm were delivered for sale until 7 March.

On 5 April, the same source, Welt, reported that eggs from two smallholders in the same state, near Duisburg, have been found to contain high levels of dioxin. These producers, with 120 and 150 hens, respectively, sold eggs directly to consumers. Investigations are still underway to identify the source(s) of contamination.

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