21 June 2001
Watchdog investigates toxins in eggs

By Isabel Davies

FOOD safety watchdogs are planning a full investigation into why hen eggs on a farm in Anglesey contain higher than expected levels of toxic PCBs.

The Food Standards Agency made the discovery as part of its nationwide programme of testing near foot-and-mouth funeral pyres.

But the agency says it is unlikely the high level of PCBs is as a result of the pyres and it suspects there is another cause.

It says that dioxin levels in the hens eggs are within the expected range for free range eggs and dioxin and PCB levels in duck eggs on the same farm are normal.

Grass and soil sampled from the farm also show dioxin levels within the expected ranges.

FSA deputy chair Suzi Leather said: “While we cannot be 100% certain that these higher than expected PCB levels are not as a result of the pyres, we think it unlikely.”

“But the agency will be going back to the farm in question to investigate further and get to the bottom of the problem.”

Last month the FSA put out a warning that it had found increased levels of cancer-causing dioxins in milk on farms within 2km of a pyre.

But latest results from other farms suggest levels of contamination give little cause for concern.

The FSA says that tests carried out on eggs, unbulked milk, grass and soil are “within the expected range and do not cause concern”.

The agency has promised full results of the programme will be ready in July.

FREE NEWS UPDATE
CLICK HERE to receive FWis FREE new daily email newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest news of foot-and-mouth and other farming-related stories