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Two farms in Lower Saxony closed due to increased dioxin levels
After a large farm and two small chicken farms in North Rhine-Westphalia had to be closed due to increased levels of dioxins, two farms in Lower Saxony were shut down until further notice. So far it is unclear whether contaminated chicken eggs have already reached the supermarkets. The Ministry of Agriculture in Hanover has announced that it will examine other regional producers more closely and carry out controls. A spokesman for the ministry emphasized that a direct connection between the finds in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony is currently not possible. As in NRW, the source of origin for the pollution is still completely unclear. As a result, the opposition criticizes the inadequate implementation of the legal regulations, which could make the early detection of contaminated eggs possible.
Two farms in the Aurich district closed The finds were made by authorities in two now closed businesses in the Aurich district, the chickens of which can move outdoors. Regulators took samples from the soil, water and feed. Oxygen samples were also taken to check possible environmental pollution in the air. In contrast to the NRW egg producers, these are not organic farms, but rather conventional farms. It is striking, however, that both farms use the same feed supplier. For this reason, samples of the feed were also taken from the feed producer. According to the authorities, the investigations are "in full swing with regard to the causes." Although it is not known whether contaminated eggs have reached the market, the Ministry of Agriculture excludes an "immediate health hazard for consumers". Rather, it is assumed that "a large part of the eggs have already been removed from the store shelves."
Dioxin exposure determined by self-monitoring This time, the increased values were not determined during a routine inspection, but by a commissioned laboratory in Schleswig-Holstein. The laboratory technicians had examined the eggs on behalf of the companies, which are legally obliged to take regular samples. The law was created from the experience of the last major dioxin-egg scandal a good year ago. In the course of this, the private laboratories were obliged to inform not only the farms but also the authorities immediately if the values increased. With this regulation, the laboratories next to the courtyards were also brought responsible. However, the mandatory self-monitoring is only carried out every two to three months, which is why it cannot be clearly proven today whether contaminated eggs have not ended up on the supermarket shelves. "It is not clear when the burden began," consumer protectionists also say.
For this reason, the left's agricultural spokeswoman Marianne König also criticized the inadequate intervals for self-monitoring. The new dioxin findings have shown that "self-monitoring by companies is not sufficient in the long term for effective protection of the population." In this case, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture was not "to blame for failure", but the dioxin eggs could have been detected more quickly if there would be "more frequent state controls". Christian Meyer von Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen criticized that the measures announced after the last dioxin scandal have not yet been “fully implemented”.
Dioxin can have health consequences Dioxin is a collective term for toxic substances that each have similar chemical compounds. These mostly arise as by-products in the manufacture of chlorinated organic chemicals or also in waste incineration. The pollutants are considered to be very long-lived because they can hardly be broken down naturally. To date, 75 different types of dioxins and 135 dioxin-related substances are known, which can lead to serious health problems. If the human body is exposed to higher doses over a longer period of time, nerve diseases, disorders of the immune system and hormone balance can be caused. In addition, some research suggests that dioxin is carcinogenic. The substances accumulate in the adipose tissue of the body and have a high half-life. If there is acute poisoning, the person concerned can no longer be saved by means of blood washing, because this can only bring about a minimal reduction. Therefore "consumers should take the warnings of the authorities very seriously" and should no longer consume possibly contaminated food, but should instead transport it to household waste. However, it is not yet known how high the new finds were.
Most recently, eggs contaminated with dioxin were found in a large North Rhine-Westphalian company and in two small producers in Duisburg. Hundreds of thousands of eggs have been destroyed since Wednesday. The cause in NRW and Lower Saxony is still completely unknown. The investigations are still ongoing in NRW. (sb)
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