Welwyn farmers speak out over German dioxin health scare

POULTRY farmers have spoken out after a health scare which saw highly toxic dioxins exported to the UK in liquid egg used in animal feed.

The threat saw 77 times the legal limit of the chemical put into animal feed and used across Germany, forcing the closure of nearly 5,000 farms.

Eggs from one of these farms was exported to the Netherlands where it was processed into liquid form.

European Union executives said 14 tonnes of the liquid egg came into the UK.

Charles Bourns poultry board chairman of the National Farmers Union said: “UK producers operate to the highest standards of food safety and animal health and are proud that their eggs can be traced back to the farm.

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“While we sympathise with fellow farmers in Germany, this is a timely reminder as to why our food industry should look closer to home when sourcing ingredients.

“British farmers jump through hoop after hoop to satisfy regulators and the consumer, so the thought of tanker loads of untraceable liquid egg travelling around Europe and ending up on our shores is galling to say the least.”

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The views were echoed by Welwyn farmers Graham and Helen Upton, who have avoided using animal feed containing any dioxins – most contain some low levels which are deemed to be ‘safe’ – for many years.

Helen Upton from Harrows Farm, a smallholding which also keeps sheep and pigs, on Pottersheath Road said: “We don’t claim to be organic, but we take as much of the bad things out as we can.”

However she added the reason eggs were being imported in this way was simply down to money, with consumers wanting ever cheaper food.

“The only way the public can control this is with their purses,” she said.

“They can vote with their feet as they have to pay more for meat reared in a better way.”

For more about the dioxin scare and the background about animal feeds go to the Food Standards Agency website, by clicking the link above right.

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