About 700,000 eggs exported from Dutch farms in The Netherlands to the UK were recorded in early August to be contaminated with fipronil — a harmful insecticide used to kill lice and ticks. At press time, supermarkets not only in the UK but also in Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and others have taken the tainted eggs and several other products that use these eggs off the shelves.
This may be one of Europe’s largest food contamination crises in recent years.
Fipronil is harmful for humans and is classified as moderately toxic by the World Health Organization. It is potentially dangerous for the kidneys, liver and thyroid glands, and its application on animals meant for human consumption has been banned by the European Union too. Health experts in Europe said that sustained consumption of this toxic will lead to severe hazards.
The eggs’ contamination was first noticed in a farm in The Netherlands, which is one of the largest exporters of eggs and the second-largest agricultural product exporter after the US. Around 180 farms producing eggs in millions have been shut down in The Netherlands until investigations are complete.
A BBC report said Belgium was criticised for notifying the EU only in late July, although it knew about the contamination since June. Belgian Minister for Agriculture Denis Ducarme has turned the blame on the Dutch for allegedly having the knowledge about the contamination since November last year. The Netherlands has, however, denied the accusation. The pandemic health scare and bubbling slew of allegations have resulted in what has been dubbed the ‘Dutch Egg Scandal’.
The Dutch authorities have reportedly started testing chicken meat that originated from the farms that produced the contaminated eggs.