Eggs from hobby chickens generally contain higher levels of dioxins and PCBs than eggs sold in stores.
This was the conclusion of a study conducted by RIKILT Wageningen UR, in cooperation with the Municipal Health Services (GGDs), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). The study was prompted by samples taken from several hobby chicken farmers in Harlingen, the Netherlands, in which relatively high levels of dioxins and PCBs were detected.
No regional differences found
The extensive study included 62 hobby chicken farmers from throughout the Netherlands, who participated voluntarily. The results of the study therefore concern only chickens kept as a hobby. Analysis showed similar amounts of dioxins and PCBs as those encountered in Harlingen. No regional differences were found in the measurements, and the types of dioxins found did not provide any indication of possible sources. From previous research, it is known that intake of soil is the most important source of dioxins in the eggs of free-range chickens.
Maximum limit value
Regular consumption of eggs with high levels of dioxins can lead to exceedance of the maximum allowable intake. In case of prolonged exceedance, health risks cannot be excluded. The researchers therefore recommend specific measures to limit the dioxin intake of the chickens. Such measures include covering the soil in the chicken run with tiles or replacing the soil in the run and the adjacent free-range area, removing any incineration sites in the free-range area and feeding the chickens from a container instead of scattering the feed on the ground.
Download the report 'Dioxines en PCB's in eieren van particuliere kippenhouders'.
Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NWVA)
More information is available on the site of Netherlands Food and Consumer Safety Authority