Germany halted sales of poultry, pork and eggs from more than 4,700 farms Friday after animal feed was contaminated with cancer-causing dioxin, while authorities elsewhere rushed to figure out how far the tainted food had spread.
Prosecutors in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein have launched an investigation into the German firm Harles & Jentzsch GmbH, suspecting the company knew but failed to tell authorities that fat it had produced for use in feed pellets was tainted with dioxin.
Authorities believe 150,000 tons of feed pellets for poultry and swine may contain the contaminated industrial fat produced by Harles & Jentzsch. They are trying to determine how widespread the contamination may be and how long the tainted feed has been in circulation.
In 1999, dioxin from motor oil was mixed into animal feed in Belgium, leading to widespread import bans and food being pulled from the market. The scandal prompted the European Union to establish maximum levels for dioxins in livestock feed in 2001.
German farmers are demanding compensation for losses they are estimating at up to euro 60 million ($79 million) a week, but Eichele said it was still too early to determine the overall damage.
“We first need to find out what led to this,” Eichele said. “It needs to be cleared, then we need to see how severe the damage is and then how we can best help those farmers.”
The mere fact that the humans are solely focused on helping the other humans regain their livelihood, without consideration to the non-humans that are being poisoned, is the root cause of this industry-induced problem.