EU applies emergency rules to dioxin in clays

Kaolin for animal feeds to be banned if containing dioxin; same rules for all clays from March

EU member states will have to test all china clays used as additives in animal feed for the presence of dioxins, the European Commission announced today. The move follows the discovery earlier this year of high levels of dioxins in livestock which were traced back to the natural occurrence of the carcinogen in an individual kaolin mine in Germany. The use of any batch of kaolin in animal feeds will be outlawed if it is found to contain more than 0.5 nanograms of dioxin per kilogram - the lowest concentration that can be detected by current analytical methods. The same measures will be extended to all other clays used in feeds from March next year unless research in member states shows the move would be inappropriate. The elevated levels of dioxin were first detected in pork and poultry in Austria this summer after high-profile dioxin scares in Belgium and Germany led to more intensive monitoring. The contamination was caused by "extremely high" levels of dioxin in clays from the German mine which were subsequently used as binders, anti-caking agents or coagulants in animal feed. The dioxins were "most likely of geological origin," the Commission said in a statement today. Livestock from five EU countries were affected by the contamination, but a Commission spokesman said the exposure levels were so low that human health was never at risk.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111.

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