Dioxin Contamination in Germany Affects Over 1,000 Farms

January 5, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Police stand on the grounds of German animal feeds producer Harles and Jentsch during a raid at the company's production facility on January 4, in Uetersen, Germany. The raid follows disclosures by the company that it had used fats containing dioxin.  ( Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Police stand on the grounds of German animal feeds producer Harles and Jentsch during a raid at the company's production facility on January 4, in Uetersen, Germany. The raid follows disclosures by the company that it had used fats containing dioxin. ( Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
The spread of animal feed contaminated with toxic dioxin is worse than feared, stated the German agriculture ministry. According to a statement released Jan. 4, more than 2,700 tons of contaminated feed has been delivered to farms.

A feed mill in the north of Germany has been identified as the source where industrial fats were mixed into vegetable fat meant as feed for chickens and pigs.

Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, doubted that the contamination was an accident. "The explanations on the part of the culprits are, in my opinion not very credible,” Aigner told the Bild newspaper.

Industrial fats can be added to feed as a cost-cutting measure.

She welcomed that a criminal investigation is under way and is considering tightening existing regulations.

As a precaution, according to the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, the authorities have halted shipments of eggs from more than 1,000 farms.

While the level of dioxin found in eggs in some tests overshot European Union limits of legal allowances, according to the German Institute for Risk Assessment, the institute does not see an immediate health risk for the population.