As a consequence of an initiative of the local authorities of the city of Antwerp (Belgium), dioxin levels were determined in eggs from free range hens owned by private owners in the Northern districts of Antwerp. The reasons for this survey stem from some fears that free range eggs could be contaminated by local environmental sources (e.g. soil, grass, earthworms) as a result of the presence in this area of intensive industrial and domestic activities. The analyses revealed high levels of PCDD/F in the home-produced eggs (average = 9.9 pg WHO-TEQ per g of fat; n = 15). An evaluation of the available results has been carried out by the Scientific Committee of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain. From this evaluation, it appeared that the analysis of congener profiles was of limited use because all profiles were dominated by the OCDD congener, independently of the level of contamination. There were not enough indications allowing a causal link to be established between high dioxin levels in eggs and soil contamination and, on the other hand, it was assumed that other factors such as feeding habits, physiological state and egg laying rhythm of the hens could not be ruled out as potential causes of aggravation. A quick risk assessment led to the conclusion that the impact of this contamination is highly relevant for the consumer's health due to the important contribution of such home-produced eggs in the estimations of total body burden. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.