Last week Germany filed criminal charges against the firm Harles & Jentzsch because they did not immediately inform the agricultural ministry that levels of cancer-causing dioxin in 150,000 tons of their feed surpassed the allowed amount.
The contaminated feed was sent to 25 distributors in Germany and from there to thousands of farms. More than 8,000 chickens were culled, 100,000 eggs were destroyed, and nearly 5,000 farms were shut down throughout Germany; and sales of poultry, pork and eggs from farms were suspended.
On Tuesday last, officials said they have now found high levels of dioxin in German pigs at a farm in the county of Verden, Lower Saxony; the dioxin levels found exceeded the legal limit by 50 percent. As a result, hundreds of pigs are to be slaughtered in an attempt to quell consumer fears in Germany and across Europe.
On Wednesday, China halted imports of German pork and eggs, and last week South Korea and Slovakia banned the sale of some German food imports altogether. Danish officials are investigating the possibility that contaminated animal feed from Germany may have been fed to hens in Denmark.
Officials in Britain and the Netherlands are making inquiries to determine if the contaminated eggs from Germany have found their way into mayonnaise and other egg enriched products like pastries and processed food.
German officials said dioxin-tainted pork may have already been sold in supermarkets; officials said it was possible that the meat went to consumers before the recall. Pork represents two-thirds of all of the meat consumed in Germany.
Spiegel Online indicates that officials with the European Union executive told reporters they had held a “disappointing” meeting with industry representatives because “no concrete proposals were presented” to prevent further contamination in the future.
Heightened concerns about food safety across Europe comes on the heels of the massive U.S. egg recall that took place last summer involving over a half-billion eggs contaminated with salmonella, traced to Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms.
Spiegel writers Jess Smee and Jill Petzinger claim that “consumer worries are on the rise in Germany, with sales of organic foods increasing amid the food-scare headlines. A survey commissioned by the mass-circulation daily Bild showed that the latest food scandal has given a boost to public support for organic foods.”
Concerned consumers everywhere are rapidly losing faith in both mega factory food producers and the government agencies responsible for regulating them. People are increasingly unwilling to ignore the inherent dangers and hazards in food produced from massive, corporate-owned factory farms who hold so-called regulators in their back pocket.
As a result, Gerald Celente, the founder of the Trends Research Institute, predicts that in 2011, one of the biggest trends and entrepreneurial opportunities will be in the organic movement, products sold for backyard gardens, and for producers of locally grown organic food.