Citrus pulp pellet incident

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Citrus pulp pellet incident: a cattle feed contamination incident in 1997 and 1998. PCDD/F-contaminated lime was used in the drying process of pellets in one orange juice factory in Brazil. Pellets (dried orange peel) were imported to many European countries, especially France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, and fed mainly to cattle. In Germany, a steady increase in dioxin concentrations in cow's milk was observed: average values were 0.62 ng/kg (I-TEq in fat) before August 1997; between September and December, 0.89; between January and February 1998, 1.38; and in March, up to 7.4 ng/kg (I-TEq in fat). The pellets were found to be the source of the contamination in April 1998. The import of pellets from Brazil was banned for months, and a program for preventing further pellet contamination was set up. A provisional maximum level for PCDD/F in citrus pulp pellets was set at 0.5 ng/kg (I-TEq in d.w.) in EU. A major part of the feed was drawn from the market and destroyed. The total amount of the contaminated pellets was ca. 100,000 tons. A relatively small amount of heavily contaminated pellets had been mixed with this large stock during transportation, hence the concentrations varied greatly. The typical concentrations of PCDD/Fs in citrus pulp pellets were below 10 ng/kg (I-TEq in d.w.), but the highest concentrations were up to 32 ng/kg (I-TEq in d.w.). [1]


  1. Jouko Tuomisto, Terttu Vartiainen and Jouni T. Tuomisto: Dioxin synopsis. Report. National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), ISSN 1798-0089 ; 14/2011 [1]