Dutch po­lice make ar­rests in tainted eggs case

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

AM­S­TER­DAM: Dutch po­lice ar­rested two sus­pects in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the il­le­gal use of a po­ten­tially harm­ful in­sec­ti­cide in the poul­try in­dus­try.

Mil­lions of chicken eggs have been pulled from Euro­pean su­per­mar­ket shelves as a re­sult of the scare over the use of in­sec­ti­cide Fipronil, and hun­dreds of thou­sands of hens culled in the Nether­lands.

The ar­rested sus­pects were di­rec­tors at Dutch com­pany Chick­friend, which is at the cen­tre of the scan­dal. Of­fi­cials at the com­pany could not be reached for com­ment.

Raids were con­ducted at lo­ca­tions linked to Chick­friend, which al­legedly used the pes­ti­cide, as well as po­ten­tial sup- pli­ers. The com­pany di­rec­tors are sus­pected of threat­en­ing pub­lic health and pos­ses­sion of a pro­hib­ited pes­ti­cide, pros­e­cu­tors said. Fipronil is a pop­u­lar in­sec­ti­cide to treat pets for fleas and ticks but it is for­bid­den for use in the food chain.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion con­sid­ers Fipronil to be mod­er­ately toxic and says very large quan­ti­ties can cause organ dam­age.

Ger­man agri­cul­ture min­istry es­ti­mates 10.7 mil­lion pos­si­bly con­tam­i­nated eggs were de­liv­ered to Ger­many from the Nether­lands, said a re­port pub­lished in the Rheinis­che Post news­pa­per yes­ter­day.

The min­istry, in re­sponse to a query from the Greens party, also cited grow­ing con- cerns about pro­cessed foods that might con­tain con­tam­i­nated eggs, and said data re­ceived from the Dutch and Bel­gian gov­ern­ments had been “in­suf­fi­cient”, the pa­per said.

Ro­ma­nia’s food safety au­thor­ity, ANSVSA, seized one ton of Ger­man-ori­gin liq­uid egg yolk con­tam­i­nated with Fipronil from a ware­house in Timis, it said on Thurs­day.

“No amount of that bunch was sold on the Ro­ma­nian mar­ket. The 1 000kg egg yolk will be neu­tralised by in­cin­er­a­tion,” ANSVSA said. In Bri­tain, the Food Stan­dards Agency (FSA) said it had found more eggs than pre­vi­ously be­lieved had en­tered the food chain, mainly through pro­cessed food.

“It is un­likely that these eggs pose a risk to pub­lic health, but as Fipronil is unau­tho­rised for use in food-pro­duc­ing an­i­mals we have acted with ur­gency to en­sure that con­sumers are pro­tected,” it said. – Reuters

PICTURE: REUTERS

A tech­ni­cian of the Bavar­ian Health and Food Safety Agency checks eggs for Fipronil in a lab in Ger­many.

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