Around 10 million eggs recalled in fipronil scandal

Last week supermarkets recalled "between 8 and 10 million eggs" because they may contain toxic insecticide fipronil, Rene Roorda, director of the bureau for foodstuffs trading CBL, said to the Telegraaf.

The eggs had to be taken off the shelves because Dutch food safety authority NVWA discovered fipronil at the companies where the eggs came from. Fipronil is an insecticide used to treat lice, fleas and ticks. The World Health Organization considers it to be "moderately toxic" to humans. In large quantities fipronil can cause liver, kidney and thyroid gland damage. The European Union tightened its rules around the use of fipronil early this year.

The NVWA halted production at all companies where fipronil was found and recalled the eggs, to avoid any health risk. 

According to the Telegraaf, many poultry farmers feel that these measures are going too far. According to them, many chicken farmers did not use fipronil in all their stables, which means that not all their eggs contain the toxic substance.

The NVWA and the national union of poultry holders LVP are meeting on Wednesday to make arrangements on how to deal with clean eggs and uncontaminated chickens at blocked companies, reports. The poultry farmers are eager to make these arrangements, Hennie de Haan of the LVP said on Tuesday. According to him, it is high time that the 'egg flow' gets back on track. "The crisis has been taking two weeks now, but poultry farmers still don't know what to do if one stable is infected with fipronil and the rest aren't. The supervisors are also ambiguous. Things must really go smoother now."

State Secretary Martijn van Dam of Economic Affairs is also having a conversation with a delegation fo Dutch poultry farmers on Wednesday. They wil discuss the economic consequences of the fipronil crisis, according to ANP. 

On Tuesday the NVWA said that small quantities of fipronil was found in products containing eggs - like egg salad and mayonnaise - but these products are still safe to eat. Consumers "don't have to worry" about these products, a spokesperson for the NVWA said on Tuesday. "Not even if you eat a lot of it."

The supermarkets are pleased that the NVWA finally reached a conclusion about this, but are unhappy with how long it took for this clarification to come, Roorda said to NOS on Wednesday. The CBL wants to discuss this issue with the NVWA on Wednesday afternoon. "We need to learn lessons from this for the future", Roorda said.