As many as 4,700 German farms have been closed over suspicions that farm animals were given feed containing the carcinogen dioxin, the German Press Agency dpa learned Thursday from Agriculture Ministry sources.
The figure is a fourfold increase on previous estimates that around 1,000 farms were affected by the scandal, which has escalated since the start of the week.
The majority of these were pork farms, according to information that reached the federal Consumer Ministry. Almost 4,500 of the closed farms are located in the state of Lower Saxony alone.
The farms were all closed as a preventive measure, and most were expected to reopen in coming days, once tests have been carried out on the produce leaving the farms.
The Consumer Ministry established a telephone hotline, and lauded the precautionary measures being taken.