Draft regulation meant to provide increased protection against dioxin contamination has been approved by the European Union member states at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and has been sent on to the European Parliament and Council, according to reports.

The regulation, a response to Germany's December 2010 and January 2011 dioxin crisis that resulted in the shutdown of egg and meat sales from 4,700 farms after contaminated animal feed was found, focuses on four key measures:

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  • Feed businesses processing crude vegetable oils, manufacturing products derived from oils of vegetable origin and blending fats, will have to be approved (not just registered) by the competent authority.
  • Fats intended for feed and food will be strictly segregated during their production and transport from fats intended for technical use in the chemical industry. Product labels must explicitly mention their intended use to help prevent products unfit for feed from entering the food chain.
  • An EU harmonized plan, with mandatory minimum testing for dioxin depending on the risk inherent to the products, will be introduced. The testing will focus on the risky products at the moment they enter the feed chain to facilitate the detection of non-compliant cases and the enforcement of feed law.
  • All laboratories must directly notify the competent authorities of any excessive findings of dioxins.

If the regulation is approved by the European Commission, it is expected to enter into force in mid-2012.