Abnormal levels of dioxin have been found in German chickens, media reported Saturday, after fears over contaminated eggs temporarily shut more than 4,700 farms, DPA reported.
Fat tissue samples from three egg-laying chickens contained 4.99 parts of dioxin per trillion parts of meat - more than double the allowed limit - according to a German government report sent to Brussels, Focus news magazine reported.
The affected federal states chose not to issue public health warnings, as "no direct adverse health effects were to be expected from consumption," according to the consumer protection ministry report.
In anticipation of possible compensation claims, the state of Schleswig-Holstein has secured the assets of feed manufacturer Harles and Jentzsch, which is suspected of triggering the dioxin scare by producing contaminated fats, Focus reported.
State officials have said that Harles and Jentzsch knew as early as last March that some of its fat samples carried up to 78 times the legal concentration of dioxin, which can cause cancer.
Faint traces of dioxin are found in much European farm produce. EU standards ordain that eggs may not be sold if they contain more than 3 parts of dioxin per trillion parts of fat. Dioxins commonly form when food is fried too hot.
The scare has snarled up farm and factory production as authorities impounded vast amounts of meat and eggs, and has affected the export of farm produce.
South Korea has halted imports of pork and poultry products from Germany, introducing quarantines that would remain in place "until we hear that the meat is safe," according to a senior official in the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Several British supermarkets have withdrawn products that could be contaminated with dioxin from German eggs, according to the Food Standards Agency. This affected cakes and quiches manufactured by two British suppliers, the FSA said, adding that most had probably already been consumed.
Russia has also imposed stiffer controls on German meat.