The European Commission (EC) has reportedly endorsed proposed safety measures aimed at better preventing dioxin contamination in animal food and feed. Prompted by a widespread investigation into an outbreak of the toxin that struck German meat and egg farms in late 2010, the draft regulation will be sent to the European Parliament and the European Council for review before the EC can give its official approval. Implementation is expected throughout the European Union by mid-2012. Details of the outbreak were covered in Issues 376, 377 and 381 of this Update.

According to the EC, Germany’s dioxin outbreak occurred when fatty acids intended for technical and industrial use were mixed with vegetable feed fat used in the production of animal feed. To reduce such risks from happening in the future, EU member states approved EC Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health safety measures designed to “avoid food recalls from the market and significant financial costs to the consumers and industries.”

The draft regulation calls for animal feed businesses that process crude vegetable oils, manufacture products derived from oils of vegetable origin, and blend fats to be registered and approved by industry regulators. In addition, industry must keep those fats meant for feed and food “strictly segregated” during production and transport from those fats intended for technical use in the chemical industry; product labels must also “explicitly mention their intended use.” To reduce citizen exposure, the proposal also includes EU-wide mandatory minimum dioxin testing that “will focus on the risky products at the moment they enter the feed chain.” See EC Press Release, October 21, 2011.