Dioxins in organic eggs: a review

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49 Citations (Scopus)


Eggs contribute for about 4% to the daily dioxin intake of humans. Research among layer farms in the Netherlands and other EU countries has shown that organic eggs contain more dioxin than conventional ones and that a significant number of organic farms produce eggs with a dioxin content that exceeds the EU standard. The hens' intake of dioxins from various sources leads to an increase in the dioxin content of organic eggs. These sources include plants, feed, soil, worms and insects, and compared with hens on conventional and free-range farms, organic hens make more use of these sources due to better access to the outdoor run. Plants appear to be relatively unimportant as a source of dioxins. Also commercial organic feed generally has very low dioxin contents, but not much is known about non-commercial feed. Consumption of worms and insects and particularly ingestion of soil are important causes of high dioxin levels in eggs. Management interventions, like a reduction of the time the hens spend outside, may decrease the dioxin levels in organic eggs but at the same time may interfere with the image of the organic production systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
Number of pages15
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • dioxins
  • toxicology
  • eggs
  • soil chemistry
  • animal feeding
  • organic farming
  • quality standards
  • dibenzo-p-dioxins
  • adaptive significance
  • chickens
  • tissue
  • soil
  • 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
  • bioaccumulation
  • biotransfer
  • metabolism
  • excretion

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