Dioxin scare: EU threatens to regulate feed industry

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The European Commission warned Tuesday that it could regulate the animal feed industry if the industry failed to take appropriate action after toxic dioxin was found in German pork and eggs.

The European Union executive held a "disappointing" meeting late Monday with industry representatives because "no concrete proposals were presented" to prevent contaminations, said Frederic Vincent, a commission spokesman.

Industry officials were asked to return with proposals to take action on a voluntary basis by the end of the month, or the commission will consider EU-wide regulation, Vincent said.

German authorities said Tuesday they have detected high levels of dioxin in pork for the first time from a farm banned from selling since the scare emerged this month.

Last week Germany closed around 4,700 of its 375,000 farms while tests were conducted, but has gradually reopened most, leaving as of Monday 558 farms still subject to restrictions.

Police last week raided a northern German firm suspected of knowingly supplying up to 3,000 tonnes of fatty acids meant for industrial use, containing high levels of potentially carcinogenic dioxins, to some 25 animal feed makers.

These 25 companies then delivered reportedly up to 150,000 tonnes of contaminated feed to thousands of farms -- mostly those producing eggs and rearing poultry and pigs -- across large parts of Germany.

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said she would propose an EU-wide ban on producing at the same site products for animal feed and fatty acids meant for industrial use.

© 2011 AFP

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