Dutch reopen some pig farms after dioxin scare

THE NETHERLANDS - Dutch food safety authority VWA on Thursday reopened nine pig farms out of 250 it had sealed off as a precaution after discovering cancer-causing dioxin in animal feed last week.
calendar icon 3 February 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

"The feed test results showed that these nine farms are clean of dioxin or have levels below the norm," a VWA spokeswoman said. Some 650 farms, including a handful raising chickens, have been quarantined in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany since last week when news first broke of the dioxin contamination. Produce from the affected farms cannot be sold or transported while the order is in effect.

Authorities is the three countries keep testing levels of the carcinogen dioxin in meat and feed. Dutch and Belgian food officials have said that meat from contaminated farms was sold in shops in the last two months but they ruled out any serious risk to public health, although conclusive results are not out yet.

They said one would have to eat dioxin contaminated meat several times a day for a very long period to feel any impact, which they said was not the case in the two countries. Dutch meat results are expected on Friday or at the weekend, the VWA spokeswoman said.

Dioxin, a class of chemicals widely used in industrial processes, got into Belgian pork fat ingredients used to make animal feed in October, authorities have said. It was the latest contamination problem to hit Europe after a similar case in 2004, when dioxin was found in Dutch potato feed.

Dioxins are one of a number of toxic chemicals that originate in pesticides or industrial processes. They spill into rivers and lakes and build up in the flesh of fish and animals.

Source: Reuters - 3rd February 2006

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