Fourteen tons of dioxin-tainted liquid eggs from Germany exported to the United Kingdom are not thought to pose a health risk, according to officials.
The eggs were used in such end products as cakes and quiches, according to the Food Standards Agency.
At least 136,000 potentially contaminated eggs were already known to have been shipped to the Netherlands in early December, but the investigation to determine just how far the contamination might have spread is ongoing, according to German Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner. UK authorities have launched their own effort, attempting to follow the paths of items produced with the tainted eggs. "These eggs were mixed with other non-contaminated eggs to make pasteurized liquid egg," said an FSA representative. "This pasteurized liquid egg has been distributed to the UK. The mixing of the eggs will have diluted the levels of dioxins and they are not thought to be a risk to health. The FSA is currently liaising with the industry and will provide further updates as information becomes available."
The dioxin contamination comes from tainted animal feed supplied by Harles & Jentzsch GmbH. The company has said that 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. Up to 3,000 metric tons of the feed was shipped to farmers in eight German states, said Holger Eichele, a spokesman for Aigner.
Over 4,700 farms have been affected, leading the German Farmers' Association to call for compensation. The farms have been shut down as a precaution and will not be allowed to make any deliveries until they have been checked and found clear of contamination. The majority of the farms are pig properties in Lower Saxony. 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.