Europe’s tainted eggs scandal is spreading. According to Brussels, 34 countries, including 22 in the EU, are affected by the scandal of fipronil, a banned insecticide in Europe. The fraud would go back to September 2016.
The Europe Union has acknowledged that the fraud involving fipronil, an insecticide whose use is banned in Europe on food-chain animals, began in September 2016. It has estimated that 34 countries have been affected, including 22 members of the European Union.
Speaking to the European Parliament, Sabine Jülicher, Director of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health Safety, said: “We now have indications that this illegal use of fipronil was already going on in 2016. This began, as we know, in September 2016,” she said, adding that this estimate was based on historical samples kept by companies.
At the heart of this scandal that is shaking up the European agri-food sector is the Dutch company ChickFriend, which mixed fipronil but also other substances, some of which were banned, to design a product that is known to be natural and intended to fight red lice, marketed under the name of Dega-16. Also involved, the Belgian company Poultry-Vision, a distributor of products for breeding and which also sold the famous Dega-16. Nearly 6,000 liters of banned products were reportedly found on its premises.
An investigation was opened in Holland, but also in Belgium, after a questioning of these companies by Belgian breeders. The two leaders of ChickFriend have been arrested. A Dutch court of justice extended their detention for one month at the end of August.
On July 20th, Belgium raised the alarm at the European level through RASFF, a food warning network responsible for informing the European Commission, Member States and third countries. According to Brussels, the Netherlands has mostly been affected by the fraud – where 258 holdings have been blocked by the authorities – and Belgium – where the number of farms concerned is 93. Italy is also affected by 10 farms , as well as Germany (7), Hungary (2), not to mention France, where a Pas-de-Calais breeding farm used the Dega-16. The non-European countries cited by Brussels are Hong Kong, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Liberia, Russia, South Africa, Angola and Iraq.