Dioxin scare closes 1,000 German farms: authorities

3rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 1,000 farms have been temporarily banned from production in Germany, authorities said Monday, in a precautionary move amid a scare over toxic dioxin in animal feed.

Around 1,000 farms were affected in the north-western state of Lower Saxony alone, Gert Hahne from the state agriculture ministry told AFP.

"Consumer protection is our priority," he said.

The farms affected are thought to have purchased animal feed contaminated with dioxin from a facility in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, which in turn received apparently toxic products from a dealer in the Netherlands.

Hahne was unable to say how many contaminated products may have entered the food chain. "At the current time, we are not able to estimate that," he said.

It would take "a matter of weeks at least before products from these farms can be tested for dioxin", Hahne added.

He said: "We do not suspect there is any fundamental danger, but we also cannot rule that out."

Dioxin, a by-product of burning rubbish and industrial activities, can cause a range of illnesses in humans including cancer and miscarriages.

Last week, heightened levels of dioxin were found in eggs and chicken meat in the northwestern state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

© 2011 AFP

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