The Dutch government banned movements on the affected units, including 200 pig farms, on January 29 after a random test on Dutch pork showed the meat to be tainted with the cancer-causing chemical.
The source of the dioxin was traced back to feed ingredients supplied from a rendering plant in Belgium. But experts believe the contamination originated in a chemical plant producing hydrochloric acid used by renderers. Belgian and Dutch feed suppliers and farmers affected are understood to be seeking compensation from the rendering plant at the centre of the scare. Belgium had 307 pig and nine poultry farms placed under quarantine.
MLC EU adviser Helen Judge said it was likely that some meat contaminated with dioxin had got into the supply chain. However, the Dutch and Belgian food safety authorities had decided dioxin levels in any meat posed no risk to public health.
“They felt that the level of exposure was extremely low and decided not to recall the meat,” she said.