Farmers: EPA Going Overboard on Dioxins

Toxic chemical found in most meat, dairy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2012 10:12 AM CST
Farmers: EPA Going Overboard on Dioxins
People pass a market stall with eggs at a farmers market in Berlin, Jan. 7, 2011. German authorities stopped more than 4,700 farms from selling their meat and eggs last year over dioxin fears.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The EPA is set to release guidelines this month warning the public not to ingest too much of a class of poisonous chemicals. Sound reasonable? Well, farmers and the food industry beg to differ, because the chemicals in question are dioxins—a ubiquitous byproduct of paper, metal, and cement production that often finds its way into food, especially meat and dairy. They say the EPA’s preliminary guideline is much too low, and will needlessly alarm the public, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The implications of this action are chilling,” a food industry coalition wrote in a letter to President Obama. “Most US agricultural products could arbitrarily be classified as unfit for consumption.” They point out that the proposed guideline—0.7 picograms of dioxins per kilogram you weigh—is stricter than that imposed by the World Health Organization or the European Union. But one consumer group praised the move, urging the EPA only to better explain how to use the guideline. (Read more dioxin stories.)

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