Cattle Die of Lead Poisoning
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Dozens of cows have died and hundreds of others are ill after eating lead- contaminated cattle feed, the Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday.
More than 300 dairy farms in the northern Netherlands, one of the nation’s prime agricultural areas, were affected, said ministry spokesman Peter Stoel.
The Health Ministry said there is no direct threat to public health, noting that ″stringent measures have been taken to prevent contaminated products from reaching the public.″
Milk from affected farms is being handled separately by dairy plants in the area, Stoel said. It is being processed into milk powder that will remain ″outside distribution channels,″ he said, adding that a decision on what will happen to the powder will be made after its lead content has been established.
The contamination, discovered two weeks ago, was traced to cattle feed originating from a company in Strobos, Stoel said. It was not clear how the contamination occurred.
The fodder contained up to 1,500 micrograms of lead per 2.2 pounds, 300 times the maximum set by the European Economic Community, said Stoel.