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A mycotoxin (fungal poison or in german ‘Schimmelpilzgift’) found in imported Maize used to feed cows, pigs and poultry has caused an uproar in German in the last few days.
Just as the German housewife was getting used to horse burgers and free range eggs from chickens which roamed freely over their fellow inmates in factory farms she is now confronted with the risk that her milk may contain excessive levels of the carcinogen Aflatoxin B1.
In their quest to keep cow’s milk as cheap as possible many German farmers have been using cattle feed mixed with Maize from Serbia. The climate in Serbia is such that the Maize is prone to produce the fungus which gives rise to the mycotoxin Aflatoxin B1. German Maize is less prone to this problem because the fungus doesn’t grow so readily in the colder regions. The cattle feed mixed with imported Maize has been fed to the German cows and has found its way into their milk.
Aflatoxin B1, in addition to being a carcinogen can lead to mutations and problems in the immune system.
The problem was identified when, during routine controls, the German Agriculture Ministry found that milk produced in Lower Saxony had levels of Aflatoxin which were slightly above the safe limit. Based on their investigations the authorities stopped deliveries of milk from farms known to have bought feed containing the imported Maize. The Serbian Maize had been mixed into the cattle feed by 13 companies who then delivered the mixed product to 3560 farms involved with cattle, pigs and poultry. Some of the feed was also delivered outside of the Lower Saxony region.
Hundreds of milk producing farms have been shut down by the authorities and as a precaution milk is being tested from all farms which have received the suspect feed. They will be instructed to change to other feed sources if the safe limits of Aflatoxin B1 in the milk are exceeded. Where the limits are exceeded a farm will not be allowed to supply its milk for consumption until at least a week after changing its feed source.
For German-speaking visitors to chrisduggleby.com you can find more information about the Maize cattle-feed scandal by using the link here
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I bet you can’t wait until the next food scandal!