Assessment of the chemical contamination in home-produced eggs in Belgium: general overview of the CONTEGG study

This overview paper describes a study conducted for the Belgian Federal Public Service of Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment during 2006–2007. Home-produced eggs from Belgian private owners of hens were included in a large study aiming to determine concentration levels of various environmental contaminants. By means of the analyses of soil samples and of kitchen waste samples, obtained from the same locations, an investigation towards the possible sources of contaminants was possible. Eggs, soils, faeces and kitchen waste samples were checked for the presence of dioxins, PCBs (including dioxin-like PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, trace elements, PAHs, brominated flame retardants and mycotoxins. The study design, sampling methodology and primary conclusions of the study are given. It was found that in some cases dioxin-like compounds were present at levels that are of concern for the health of the egg consumers. Therefore, measures to limit their contamination in eggs, produced by hens of private owners, were proposed and deserve further attention.