At the end of 2004, during a routine monitoring project, high levels of PCDDs in milk from two farms were found. Using a bioassay and the congener patterns obtained by HRGC/HRMS, the source was traced back to the use of kaolinic clay for sorting potatoes in a production process of French fries. Rest products, especially peelings after scrubbing, were used as feed for dairy cows. Levels of PCCD/Fs in this product amounted to 44 ng WHO1998-TEQ kg(-1) (88% dw). The maximum level observed in milk was 20 pg WHO1998-TEQ g(-1) fat. A Physiologically Based PharmacoKinetic (PB-PK) model was used to model three data obtained before eliminating the source in order to estimate the starting time of the contamination of the cows, the steady-state level after prolonged contamination and the kinetics of the decrease in the levels after removal of the source. Samples of milk were continuously collected for several months showing a decrease to levels below the product limit of 3 pg WHO1998-TEQ g(-1) fat within 2 months, in excellent agreement with the decrease predicted by the PB-PK model. Different batches of clay were sampled and analysed, showing varying levels of especially PCDDs. All clays were confirmed to be kaolinic clay using X-ray analysis. Other by-products used for animal feed were also contaminated and led to precautionary measures at a few hundred farms, especially pig farms. However, levels in other animal derived products like pig meat did not exceed the product limits. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.