The chemical dioxin has been found in above-permitted levels in eggs from five farms in the central German state of North Rhine Westphalia, according to the state agriculture ministry.
The first three farms had levels of dioxin three to six times permitted levels, and all farms have been sealed off and are not permitted to sell any more eggs. How the chemical got into the eggs is unclear, as the animal feed samples from the farms have shown no contamination.
In January 2011, an EU-wide health alert started when German officials said animal feed tainted with dioxin had been fed to hens and pigs, contaminating eggs, poultry meat and pig meat at the affected farms. Germany then introduced a series of new measures including restrictions on animal feed ingredients and more rigorous routine food testing.