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Authorities warn of dioxin in free-range eggs from Lower Saxony
Once again, increased PCB and dioxin levels were found in the free range eggs of a laying hen farm in Lower Saxony. According to the notification of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Consumer Protection and State Development, the limit value was noticed during self-checks by a collection center for eggs in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).
The contaminated eggs come "from a conventional open-air farm in the East Frisian district of Aurich," according to a message from the Ministry of Agriculture in Hanover on Thursday. The result showed that the total value of dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs exceeded 8.16 picograms per gram of egg fat, the permissible limit being five picograms per gram of egg fat. The affected herd with just under 1,000 free-range hens was officially blocked on Wednesday, and distribution via the collection point in North Rhine-Westphalia was stopped. Currently, "further sales channels for the eggs that have already been put on the market are being determined," the authorities said. However, there is no immediate danger for consumers.
Dioxin contamination of free-range eggs Over the past few months, increased concentrations of dioxins and PCBs have been found in free-range eggs. This is also the result of improved self-monitoring and the obligation to report after the dioxin scandal caused by contaminated feed in 2011. For free-range eggs, however, it is not the feed, but the environment or the soil on which the chickens live that is often the cause of the contamination. This was true at least for the most recent incidents in a laying hen farm in the Oldenburg district, three farms in the Aurich district and a farm in the North Rhine-Westphalian district of Borken. Here, for example, the covering on the run-out areas or the insulation material of the stables was the source of the PCB and dioxin.
Distribution channels of the dioxin eggs are being checked According to information from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture, the current dioxin detection in the free-range eggs from Aurich is currently investigating the cause of the entry. All eggs with coding 1 - DE - 0357412 were recalled. "By publishing the stamp number on the affected eggs, it is possible to recognize eggs that are already at the consumer and to refrain from consuming them," said the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. However, it is still unclear to which retailer the eggs were passed on and how many of them may have ended up with the end customer. The distribution channels of the free-range eggs already on the market are being checked.
Enrichment of environmental toxins in the organism The observed excess of the dioxin / PCB total value in the free-range eggs is not an immediate health threat, but PCB and dioxin accumulate over time as environmental toxins in the human organism, since they can hardly be broken down. In the long term, if the PCB or dioxin intake is too high, there may be significant health problems, including damage to fertility and an increased risk of miscarriages and deformities in the offspring. The pollutants are also suspected of promoting cancer. (fp)
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