Threat from German eggs 'minimal': Netherlands

7th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch food safety watchdog on Friday dismissed as "minimal" the health risk arising from its importation of 136,000 eggs suspected to be contaminated with cancer-causing dioxin from Germany.

"The public health risk is minimal," Annemieke Herberigs, a spokeswoman for the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA), told AFP of the imported eggs, destined for use in processed form.

"These eggs were mixed several times with other eggs or with other products," she said.

"The potentially contaminated eggs may be found in products like biscuits or shampoo, but the concentration (of dioxin) is such that the risk is minimal."

Authorities in Germany have so far shut down more than 4,700 farms after tests showed animal feed had been contaminated with the toxic chemical compound dioxin that can cause cancer if consumed in high doses.

A VWA statement said the 136,000 eggs, received in two deliveries from Germany, were processed in two factories in the Netherlands. Some of the processed product was sent to "another European member state" and the rest distributed domestically.

According to the European Commission, the first batch of 86,000 eggs, mixed with other eggs in the Netherlands, yielded 14 tons of product exported to Britain on December 12.

The second batch arrived in the Netherlands on December 14 where it was mixed with 14 tons of other eggs. The processed end product was divided into three batches, of which one was frozen in the Netherlands.

The whereabouts of the other two batches were not known, according to the European Commission.

The VWA said potentially contaminated products in the Netherlands had been traced and "blocked".

"A small percentage may have made its way into the food chain," it said.

© 2011 AFP

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