Monday, January 10, 2011

Lemming or logical?

Germany is being rocked by a food scare at the moment.

Dioxin has been introduced into the food chain here through chicken feed*, that's bad news because Dioxin is classed as a POP (persistent organic pollutant) which means that it doesn't break down over time but remains within the body and can build up until dangerous levels are reached. POP exposure can cause death and illnesses including disruption of the endocrine, immune and reproductive systems, neurobehavioral disorders, and cancer.

This 'little' problem hit the news over the Christmas period when the dioxin levels at the firm in Uetersen were measured and found to be 77 times greater than the 'safe' level. Like I said, bad news, but it gets worse...this was December, but the daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reported that a self-assessment (within the firm) showed positive results for unacceptable levels of dioxin on March 19, last year but was not reported to authorities.

So by emptying my shelves of eggs and chicken that isn't bio/organic I guess I'm shutting the door after the horse has bolted right? Except that as I mentioned, dioxin builds up in the body so better late than never in my attempts not to poison myself and my family eh?

Or by acting in this manner, reading all the sensational headlines, throwing away good (but possibly contaminated) food, buying organic where I wouldn't normally, am I acting like one of the herd, being a bit of a lemming by following along with what everyone else is surely doing (seeing as I bought the very last pack of organic eggs from the supermarket this morning) or am I being sensible and cautious and acting in a way to protect my family's health?

A bit of both I guess, while I object to the sensationalisation of the scare it would be foolish of me not to act in such a way as I can to protect my own and if that means spending more on food because I'm buying organic then so be it, it's probably better for us anyway!

* An animal feed maunfacturer, Harles & Jentzsch, has admitted it was 'careless' in mixing fatty acids meant only for industrial use into animal feed, leaving that feed potentially contaminated with the harmful chemical dioxin. This feed has been used only by 'breeder' hens who produce eggs and which are not used for meat, although there are concerns that the feed has been sold into Denmark and also that contaminated eggs may have made their way into other European countries in products such as mayonaise and the like.

1 comment:

Jayne said...

Scary stuff, but has anyone admitted just how long it's been going on, because like you say, it's a bit late to throw a wobble when the horse bolted!

Suggested read for you: White Thorn by Bruce Courtenay (if you haven't already read it!)