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Headlines > Consumer Trends

German organic sector shocked by contamination scare

30-May-2002

Retailers in Germany, including Metro and Rewe, have removed numerous organic products from their stores after a feed distribution company was discovered to have sold nitrofen-tainted wheat, according to a report in German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The newspaper said that Metro, Wal-Mart and the supermarket chains Edeka, Tengelmann and Kaiser's had removed eggs, chicken and sausages from organic sources from their shelves, although Metro said that the measures were "precautionary".

The newspaper quoted Consumer Protection and Agriculture Minister Renate Kuenast as saying that a feed distribution company in Lower Saxony had knowingly sold wheat tainted with carcinogenic nitrofen from November to May this year.

The tainted wheat was sold to organic farms nationwide, but she said that it can not be ruled out that conventional farms are affected as well.

The minister believed that the wheat sold had been contaminated by nitrofen-tainted wheat imported from other countries which was then illegally mixed into it.

The feed production company concerned said, however, that it never knowingly sold contaminated wheat to its customers.

Meanwhile, Kuenast rebutted criticism of her ministry, saying that this scandal was still a result of the old system, but said that "one thing or the other can still be improved".

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