February 26, 2007

Trace dioxin levels in raw milk prompt CFIA advisory on chemically-treated wood

OTTAWA, ONT-The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is advising livestock producers across Canada not to use chemically-treated wood structures near livestock feed or food-producing animals because they can transfer potentially harmful levels of chemicals into animal products such as meat, milk and eggs. Dioxin levels higher than background were detected in raw milk from two British Columbia dairy operations during the Agency's residue monitoring program. Although the levels of dioxin detected are not considered an immediate health risk by Health Canada, they did trigger an investigation to find and eliminate the source of contamination. Chemically-treated wood used in some silage bunkers (animal feed containers) was determined to be the most likely source of the dioxin detected. Exposure to wood treated with chemicals such as pentachlorophenol (PCP) has been shown to result in higher than background levels of dioxins in livestock feed, which can then transfer into animal products. Further follow-up after precautionary measures were implemented indicated lowered levels of dioxin. The CFIA is advising producers to ensure that livestock feed is stored well away from any possible direct contact with chemically-treated wood structures. Animals should not be allowed to come into contact with chemically-treated wood in any form, such as sawdust or shavings that could be used for bedding.

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