Dutch farmers cry 'fowl' as eggs poisoned by insecticide

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 3, 2017

Over 180 poultry farms have been banned from bringing their eggs to market following the discovery of a batch of eggs containing fipronil, a pesticide used to eliminate chicken lice.The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) announced there would be more product codes for eggs found to contain the harmful substance fipronil.Fipronil is an insecticide used in veterinary medicine fleas, mites, lice and ticks. Since then, 10 other German states have issued warnings about the eggs, advising customers to steer clear of products marked "NL". "Meaning that 80 percent of the eggs are fine". No eggs have been transported from the farms to retail since 22 July. "There's absolutely no risk, and it's very confusing for the consumer [what the] NVWA is communicating at this moment", Aalt den Herder, General Secretary of the NVP, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Dozens of poultry farms have been closed across The Netherlands after a toxic insecticide is believed to have contaminated hundreds of thousands of eggs, Dutch officials said Tuesday. The NVWA is now testing eggs, hens and chicken manure at several dozen farms for traces of the pesticide.

The Netherlands has nearly 1,000 lay hen factory farms producing 11bn eggs a year, of which more than half are exported, mainly to Germany.

The organisation said that the white eggs contain such a high amount of fipronil that they are a threat to public health when they are consumed.

The treatment, named Dega-16, has been traced back to a Belgian pest-control firm named Poultry-Vision, which supplied the product to a cleaning company active on Dutch poultry farms.

One Dutch newspaper, Trouw, suggested one of the companies may have had clients in the UK, France and Poland, although there is no suggestion so far that contaminated eggs are being sold in those countries. And they can't do anything about it. About a million eggs destined for Germany were recalled from the border with the Netherlands this week.

"We are doing our utmost to talk with the NVWA to make it possible to give as much space to poultry farms as possible, so that they can survive".

Supermarkets Lidl and Aldi also said Thursday that they had immediately stopped selling eggs from any farms where fipronil was found to be used. "It's a big scandal", den Herder concludes.

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