The German Farmers' Association is calling for compensation after the discovery of excessive amounts of dioxin in the products and animal feeds of Harles & Jentzsch GmbH forced more than 1,000 farms producing eggs, poultry and pork in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, to halt sales.
"Those who are responsible for the damage must pay for the damages," said Helmut Born, the association’s general secretary. Born said that while it is too soon to produce an exact monetary figure, the association is expecting the total to be "in the millions" of euros.
Up to 3,000 metric tons of contaminated animal feed was shipped to farmers in eight German states, with 90% ending up in Lower Saxony, said Holger Eichele, a spokesman for German Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner. The dioxin discovery led to Harles & Jentzsch saying it was "careless" in assuming a certain mixed fatty acid, normally used for technical industrial uses such as making lubricants and biofuels, would be suitable for manufacture of animal feed.
Germany is still trying to determine just how far the contamination might have spread, according to Aigner. At least 136,000 potentially contaminated eggs were shipped to the Netherlands in early December, but the latest information suggests that no other suspect food has been traded or exported to other EU member states. A spokesman for the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy said it is "too early" to consider a ban on exports and the investigation is ongoing.