Dutch police make arrests in tainted eggs case
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
A technician of the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Agency checks eggs for Fipronil in a lab in Germany.