German eco-farming hit by tainted poultry feed
BERLIN - German ecological farming, favored after recent scandals over mad cow and foot and mouth diseases, was under scrutiny yesterday after it emerged that tainted poultry feed had been used at chicken farms.
Authorities confirmed yesterday that about 100 tonnes of ecological meal contaminated with a potentially cancer-causing herbicide had possibly been delivered to about 120 farms.
Farm Minister Renate Kuenast, a member of the Green party which is a strong advocate of environmentally friendly farming, confirmed that the Federal Office for Meat Research found traces of the contaminant in chicken meat in January, but had not informed her ministry.
The agriculture ministry in the state of Lower Saxony, which first drew attention to the contamination last week, said 230 tonnes of chicken meat had been seized on Friday.
\"Ecological farming has lost its innocence,\" said Lower Saxony agriculture minister Uwe Bartels, adding that the government should not continue to promote alternative farming methods above others as it has done since recent food scares.
Kuenast said it had yet to be established how the herbicide, Nitrofen, had found its way into the chicken meal, given that the cancer-provoking substance has been banned since 1988 and only stays in the soil for a year.
However, she noted that the chemical was still allowed in several eastern European countries.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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