Dioxins and food safety
Dioxins are sub-elements generated from the combustion of compounds rich in chlorine, commonly called polychlorinated substances. Its origin can be linked to both industrial and natural processes. It has been proved that these chemicals are present in the environment, show high persistence and are widely distributed throughout the world. In addition, dioxins have the ability to deposit in adipose tissue, which favors their accumulation and biomagnification along food chains. In animal production, the incorporation of dioxins can happen from the soil, drinking water or through administered feed.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), 90% of human exposure occurs from their intake of meat, dairy, fish and seafood. Chronic exposure to these substances can produce toxic effects in humans, which involve problems at the immunological, endocrine and reproductive levels, among others. In the case of animal production, birds and fish are usually more sensitive to dioxin poisoning, due to their high content of body fat.
Dioxins: diagnosis and impact on animal production and human health
The diagnosis of these intoxications usually goes unnoticed but the easiest signs to observe are photosensitization, skin discoloration, rashes and loss of hair or feathers. Added to this, the diagnosis must be accompanied by other less obvious signs. For example, hepatotoxicity is observed by reduction of liver size and presence of periportal fibrosis, fatty degeneration and accumulation of porphyrins. Assays in pigs have determined that dioxin poisoning markedly reduces the production of thyroid hormones. In addition, polyploid lesions and hyperplasias have been observed in the intestine and the stomach, although these organs are not the target of this toxicity. Chronic exposure may manifest chronic inflammation, fibrosis and subsequent pancreas atrophy.
The impact on the immune system has been evidenced mainly in animals by reduction of thymus size, suppression of B lymphocytes and consequent decrease of antibodies, which indirectly generates an increase in the prevalence of infectious pathologies in the animals of the productive system. Finally, dioxins imply an increased risk in pregnant animals, since they can act as endocrine disruptors (xenoestrogenic effect), genotoxic (potentially carcinogenic, cataloged in group 1 by IARC) and teratogenic.
Due to the importance of dioxin presence for animal health, production and, unquestionably, for human health, important advances in the knowledge of these compounds and their effects have been achieved in the last five years. In addition, several alarms have been raised to prevent dioxin residues in food of animal origin affecting human health. Since they are widely distributed in the world, the most effective measures that have been proposed to avoid or reduce exposure are to adopt rigorous controls in industrial processes, in order to minimize the formation and incorporation of dioxins in processed food products. Dioxin quantitative chemical analysis require costly and sophisticated methods only available in few laboratories worldwide.
Quality raw materials for animal feed: the case of Minervet
Minervet S.A. produces natural additives for animal feed and is a company committed to animal and human health. The minerals used are of high quality and purity and are extracted in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. In order to comply with the strictest international legislation, rigorous controls have been implemented throughout the productive chain. Among the analyzes usually carried out, dioxins concentration tests of processed products is one of most importance. Currently, Minervet S.A. can certify that its products have a dioxin content 500 to 800 times lower than the accepted standards. Offering safe and high quality products to our customers is one of our top priorities.
Source: WHO (World Health Organization)- https://www.who.int/