Most meat from cattle grazing in flood pains too high in dioxins

Photo Havang(nl) via Wikimedia Commons

Most meat from cattle living on Dutch river flood plains is too high in dioxins, making it unfit for consumption, Dutch food safety watchdog NVWA has found.

Cattle farmers who keep their animals in flood plains must guarantee the animals’ dioxin levels are within the legal limit, if not the meat cannot be sold. The probe showed that meat from two thirds of animals grazing in 14 flood plains had been contaminated.

Dioxins are environmental pollutants, belonging to the so-called ‘dirty dozen’ – a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Dioxins, released during industrial processes, are highly toxic and can potentially damage the immune system, and cause fertility problems and cancer.

Dioxins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and collect there. ‘The daily intake of meat with a low level of dioxins can ultimately lead to higher levels in the body and cause health problems,’ the NVWA said

In 2020 meat from culled animals in nature reserves was also been found to be too high in dioxins. Meat from deer and other animals is sold in so-called game packages for which some 4,000 people sign up each year, including restaurants.

The NVWA said it will discuss its findings with farmers and will continue to test for excess dioxins in the meat from cattle and game.

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