Around 150 livestock farms in the Netherlands have been ordered to stop taking their animals to slaughter because they may have eaten food contaminated with the cancer-causing substance dioxin.

The German government reportedly warned the Dutch government about a suspect batch of German feed on Monday, under the “Rapid Alert System”, which is in operation between the two countries to deal with food scares.

It has since emerged, however, that Germany may have known of the suspect batch up to three weeks ago, but there was a delay due to the closure of a testing centre for the Christmas holidays, reported Het Financieele Dagblad.