Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Dutch consumers warned after eggs found contaminated with lice insecticide

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Dutch consumers have been told to avoid certain eggs, after it was found that they may be contaminated with lice insecticide.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority issued the warning after investigations found that hundreds of thousands of eggs in the Netherlands could be contaminated with too-high levels of an insecticide fipronil.

The Dutch authority has listed batch numbers of eggs with too high a fipronil content and numerous poultry farms are being investigated. It said that 180 poultry farms have been temporarily stopped from supplying eggs.

Reports suggest that eggs from chickens treated with too high a dose of fipronil may have been on the market in the Netherlands for a year.

A spokesperson for the Dutch authority told FarmIreland that it had blocked the poultry farms on which this service company (ChickFriend) conducted a treatment for lice, because it seems that firponil has been used during this treatment.

"This is prohibited. Eggs from these poultry farms were analyzed. In eggs from several farms we found fipronil. These eggs were withdrawn from the market. There have been no reports of human illness."

The spokesperson went on to say that it is not likely that people will get ill after eating an egg from one of these farms.

They also said that at  this moment there are no indications that other poultry service companies have used the same lice product.

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Dutch newsaper Volkskrant said over 200 companies in the Netherlands have been affected by the alleged contamination. The Dutch food safety body said chicken meat is not affected by any contamination and has not removed chicken meat from supermarket shelves but it has confirmed that it has taken samples of chicken meat from the farms.

Volkskrant  also reports that Dutch poultry farmers have accused the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority of 'scare mongering' and said that they were told fipronil was safe. 

Fipronil is a commonly used insecticide among cats and dogs that is used to treat lice and fleas. The World Health Organisation's classification for fipronil is 'moderately hazardous (Class II)'.

The company at the centre of the scandal, Chickfriend's website has been offline since Tuesday.

The FSAI is aware that traces of Fipronil have been found in eggs in other EU countries, however there is no indication of distribution of the implicated products to the Republic of Ireland.  The FSAI is continuing to follow this issue.

Online Editors