German 'action plan' after dioxin food scare

January 14, 2011
German Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner addresses media during a press conference in Berlin. Germany's under-fire agriculture minister presented on Friday an "action plan" aimed at preventing a repeat of this month's scare over dioxin poisoning in eggs and pork.

Germany's under-fire agriculture minister presented on Friday an "action plan" aimed at preventing a repeat of this month's scare over dioxin poisoning in eggs and pork.

"One thing is clear, this case will have consequences," Ilse Aigner told a news conference in Berlin.

"Even if our current investigations suggest that the contamination was because of a criminal act, I am using this as a reason to examine the entire industry, from to the stall," she said.

"We must raise safety standards."

The scare began last week when it emerged that a German firm may have supplied some 3,000 tonnes of only meant for industrial uses to makers of animal feed late last year. The feed was then widely distributed.

Around 100,000 eggs were destroyed while some 4,700 farms were banned from selling their products were closed pending tests. The vast majority of these farms have since been given the all-clear.

On Tuesday authorities said that pork with high levels of dioxin had been discovered at a farm in the state of Lower Saxony, and that potentially tainted meat from the farm could be in shops.

South Korea and China have banned German pork imports, while Japan has ordered importers to report all pork shipments. Slovakia outlawed the sale of German eggs and poultry meat but the ban was lifted on Wednesday.

The German government said previously that none of the up to 150,000 tonnes of suspect animal feed had been exported, but the European Commission said this week that some had in fact made it to Denmark and France.

Around 136,000 eggs meanwhile were exported to the Netherlands, some of which ended up in Britain. German authorities said on Thursday that meat from 35 potentially contaminated was sold in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Aigner has been accused of being slow to act, including by Germany's most-read newspaper Bild, while Renate Kuenast from the opposition Greens, herself a former minister, called for her to be fired.

Under Aigner's plans, firms cannot produce fats for industrial uses and for animal feed at the same site, makers of animal feed will be subject to tougher regulations and more frequent inspections, and penalties will be harsher.

She also wants to set up an early warning system, to improve safety checks on food and animal feed and to give consumers more transparency by obliging local authorities to make test results and infringements publicly available.

"Our ministry has done everything in its power," Aigner said.

Explore further: Pork belly cuts better for environment than beef steak

Related Stories

Pork belly cuts better for environment than beef steak

March 18, 2010

Milk, eggs, pork and chicken are friendlier for the environment than beef. This is the conclusion after examining sixteen life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of animal products. However, the margins for the various measurements ...

Germany halts pork, egg sales in dioxin scare

January 7, 2011

(AP) -- Germany froze sales of poultry, pork and eggs from more than 4,700 farms Friday to stem the spread of food contaminated with cancer-causing dioxin, as fears grew that farmers could have been using tainted livestock ...

Germany detects illegal dioxin levels in poultry

January 9, 2011

(AP) -- German investigators have found excessive levels of cancer-causing dioxin in chicken - the first such confirmation of tainted meat since the discovery that German farm animals had eaten contaminated feed, possibly ...

Germany lifts dioxin-related bans on 3,050 farms

January 10, 2011

(AP) -- Livestock feed producers must face stricter controls and Germany and other EU nations must have better, more centralized dioxin monitoring, German officials proposed Monday after high dioxin levels prompted the closure ...

Germany kills 140 dioxin-contaminated pigs

January 11, 2011

(AP) -- German authorities ordered 140 pigs slaughtered Tuesday after tests showed high levels of a cancer-causing chemical for the first time in swine, as the nation's dioxin scandal widened beyond poultry and eggs.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Cow embryos reveal new type of chromosome chimera

May 27, 2016

I've often wondered what happens between the time an egg is fertilized and the time the ball of cells that it becomes nestles into the uterine lining. It's a period that we know very little about, a black box of developmental ...

Shaving time to test antidotes for nerve agents

February 29, 2016

Imagine you wanted to know how much energy it took to bike up a mountain, but couldn't finish the ride to the peak yourself. So, to get the total energy required, you and a team of friends strap energy meters to your bikes ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.