German firm found dioxins in March 2010: report

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Tests conducted in March 2010 showed traces of dioxin contamination in the animal fats produced by the company at the centre of a food scandal in Germany, a report said on Friday.

According to the Hannoverische Allgemeine Zeitung daily, the agriculture ministry in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein only received the results of the test in late December.

The March test, conducted by the company Harles und Jentzsch, showed dioxin levels twice the maximum permitted amount, but was not communicated to the authorities, the paper said.

Harles und Jentzsch is alleged to have supplied up to 3,000 tonnes of contaminated fatty acids meant only for industrial usage to around 25 animal feed makers.

The scandal has forced the closure of more than 4,700 farms in Germany and has spread beyond its borders with exports to the Netherlands.

The European Commission said Thursday the hunt for potentially dioxin-tainted eggs had also turned to Britain.

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

© 2011 AFP

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