European contaminated eggs scandal broadens


European contaminated eggs scandal broadens

Anna Rombach

16 August 2017

The Fipronil scandal is broadening. Eggs contaminated with the toxic insecticide have now been found in many European countries and in Hong Kong. The European Union (EU) has announced a crisis meeting on the issue but has failed to set a specific date.

Fipronil is a highly powerful toxic insecticide produced by the BASF chemical company. The insecticide is approved for use in Europe to combat fleas, lice and ticks in animals. The chemical attacks the central nervous system and vital functions of the insects.

In tests on rats, neurological damage has been observed, and humans using the chemical are warned that in high doses Fipronil can cause nausea, vomiting and headache, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys and thyroid gland. Its use for animals used in food production is therefore strictly prohibited.

It now appears that a Belgian manufacturer added Fipronil to a harmless disinfectant and cleansing agent and sold the resulting product to hen factories in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The mixture was also due to be exported to Great Britain, France, Poland and other countries.

The trace of Fipronil was uncovered when a Belgian processing company checked eggs in its laboratory and reported the findings. An entire month passed, however, before the authorities informed the public.

In the meantime, the scandal has spread to the whole of Europe, via the sale of detergents and the export of eggs. Fipronil has been detected not only in eggs, but also in chicken meat.

The European market is closely linked, and the Netherlands produces about half of all eggs for export across the continent. More than 11 million Fipronil-infected eggs have been delivered to Germany. In addition,…

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