USDA Symbol Food Safety and Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700

News and Information

July 8, 1997

TO: Owners and Custodians of Poultry, Livestock and Eggs:


This letter will serve as official advisory that a limited amount of poultry, livestock and eggs may have been exposed to high levels of dioxin in animal feed produced by Riceland Foods, Incorporated and Quincy Soybean Company, that may render the resulting food products adulterated. As of receipt of this notice, you should immediately take steps to assure that the animals or eggs being processed at your establishment do not contain elevated levels of dioxin as a result of animal exposure to this feed.


Certain manufacturers of animal feeds have been voluntarily holding the feed that contains elevated level of dioxin. On July 3, 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified those manufacturers to stop further distribution and use of the feed as a preventative measure to reduce the potential human exposure to dioxin.

In a recent nationwide survey carried out by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some unusually high levels of dioxin were found in 2 of 80 poultry samples. After an extensive investigation involving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), FSIS, and EPA, the source of the dioxin contamination was identified as ball clay, which was added to the soybean meal as a flowing or anti-caking agent. Ball clay contaminated with high levels of dioxin was added to soybean meal processed by Riceland Foods, Incorporated and Quincy Soybean Company, both located in Arkansas. The soybean meal was then added to animal feeds.

FDA scientists have determined that the level of dioxin in the exposed animals and products should be less than 1 part per trillion of the compound 2,3, 7,8 TCDD on an edible tissue basis, before products can enter the food supply. Dioxin is primarily deposited in the fatty tissues, and assays generally will involve testing those tissues and converting values to a whole tissue value. Please note that this is not a general action level for dioxin in foods. This is a federal government response to a specific source of dioxin contaminated animal feed.

The producers of the feed voluntarily discontinued use of the ball clay. On July 3, 1997, following careful review of the accumulated evidence, FDA determined in consultation with USDA and EPA, that all animal feed produced using contaminated ball clay from the Kentucky-Tennessee Ball Clay Company in Crenshaw, Mississippi is adulterated and could no longer be sold or fed to animals. It is believed that the adulterated feed represents less than 1% of the national production of such feeds.

The levels of dioxin in feed and in foods produced from animals that consumed the feed present no immediate public health risk. However, now that the contaminated feed has been identified, the agencies have initiated action to prevent any further exposure to elevated levels of dioxin in food for human or animal use. FDA has established 1 part per trillion 2,3,7,8 TCDD on an edible tissue basis as the level of concern for meat, poultry, fish, eggs and other food products produced from animals that were exposed to the feed. FDA has advised catfish and shell egg producers that products that contain dioxin levels at 1 ppt or above are deemed adulterated.

Actions By Official Establishments

If you receive livestock or poultry for slaughter, or eggs for processing at your establishment that have been exposed to feed contaminated with dioxin, you must demonstrate that the resulting meat, poultry or egg product is below 1 part per trillion 2,3,7,8 TCDD on an edible tissue basis. Under the provisions of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), and Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) a meat, poultry or egg product is deemed adulterated if it contains any harmful or deleterious substance, or is otherwise unwholesome.

You must notify inspection officials of livestock or poultry, or eggs from laying hens, brought to your establishment that have been exposed to feed contaminated with dioxin. You may proceed with slaughter and processing; however, you must assure that resulting products are held under security at your establishment or another appropriate site until receipt of laboratory test results. Samples for laboratory confirmation may be obtained either at the establishment or arranged prior to slaughter by the producer or supplier of the livestock, poultry or eggs.

Disposal of livestock, poultry, or reconditioned by-products must comply with applicable state and federal requirements.

Attached for your information is an initial list of laboratories that can perform dioxin analyses. We will provide additional names of laboratories as they become available. If you have any questions regarding producers who may have received the contaminated feed, please call Donald Edwards, FSIS Office of Field Operations, at (202) 418-8874.


/s/ Mark Mina, DVM
Deputy Administrator
Field Operations

Attachment: Partial list of labs that may be able to conduct appropriate dioxin analysis:

Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory
(601) 325-7808
Contact: Burt Lynn

Core Laboratories
7726 Moller Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
(317) 875-5894
Contact: Rae Ann Cogswell
Daniel Delinger

Triangle Laboratories
801 Capitola Drive
Durham, NC 27713
(919) 544-5729 Ext 256
Contact: Phil Fields, Debbie Hage
Phillip William Albro

Wright State University
Dayton, OH
(937) 775-2202
Contact: Dr. Tiernan

Greenbrook, NJ
(908) 752-2691

Batelle Columbus Laboratory
(614) 424-4976
Contact: Mary Schrock

880 Riverside Parkway
W. Sacramento, CA 95605
Contact: Roger Frieze (916) 373-5600

Texas A&M University
Geochemical and Environment Research Group
College Station, TX
(409) 862-2323, Ext 115
Contact: Guy Denoux

Quanterra Environmental Services
5815 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37921
Contact: Kevin Bull

Radian International LLC
14046 Summit Drive
Bldg. B, Suite 101
Austin, TX 78720-1088
Contact: Michael Shepherd, Ph.D.
(512) 244-0855

Midwest Research Institute
425 Volker Boulevard
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 753-7600
Contact: Mike White
John Stanley

Southwest Laboratory of Oklahoma, Inc.
1700 West Albany
Broken Arrow, OK 74012
Contact: Richard Ronan
(918) 251-2858

Pacific Analytical
6349 Paseo Del Lago
Carlsbad, CA 92009
(619) 438-3100
Contact: Steve Parsons
Bruce Colby

Alta Analytical Laboratory, Inc.
5070 Robert J. Mathews Parkway, Suite 2
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
Contact: Dr. John Cornacchia
(916) 933-1640

Caltest Analytical Laboratory
1885 North Kelly Road
Napa, CA 94558
Contact: Christine Horn
(707) 258-4000

Canviro Analytical Laboratories, Ltd.
50 Bathhurst Dr., Unit 12
Waterloo, Ontario CN N2V 2C5
Contact: Jeffrey Pike
(519) 747-2575

Maxim Technologies, Inc.
662 Cromwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55114
Contact: Charles Sueper
(612) 645-3601

Southwest Research Institute
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, TX 78228-0510
Contact: P. J. Hsu
(210) 684-5111

Organizations that may be able to provide assistance in determining appropriate laboratories:

Association of Independent Scientific, Engineering, and Testing Firms (ACIL)
1629 K Street, N.W., Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 887-5872

State of California
Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP)
(510) 540-2800

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