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The Netherlands: Pesticide Contamination : Dozens more egg producers shut down as pesticide scandal spreads

The Dutch food and product safety board has stopped ‘dozens’ more poultry farms from sending their eggs to market because they may be contaminated with the pesticide fipronil. Tests for traces of the pesticide, used to control lice in poultry, are now being carried out on eggs, hens and chicken manure at several dozen farms, the NVWA said in a statement.

On Monday, the NVWA shut down seven poultry farms after fipronil was found in samples of eggs.

The chemical is primarily used as an insecticide, particularly to kill fleas, and is classed as a ‘moderately hazardous pesticide’ by the World Health Organisation.

In the Netherlands it is banned in the poultry sector. The NVWA, which took the action after a tip-off from the Belgian authorities, said in a statement there is no danger to human health. According to regional paper de Stentor, the contamination may have come from a pest control company in Gelderland which used the pesticide to deal with chicken lice.

The NVWA says it has not so far found concentrations of the chemical which would prove a direct danger to human health. However, continued consumption of eggs containing fipronil ‘could have damaging effect.

The anti-lice pesticide at the centre of an egg safety scandal in the Netherlands may have been used on Dutch farms as early as June 2016, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.

The company at the centre of the scandal, Barneveld-based Chickfriend, was treating poultry for lice last year and there is no reason to believe that the product did not contain fipronil at that time, the paper said.

The Dutch food and product safety board NVWA told the paper that eggs containing the banned pesticide fipronil could have been sold in Dutch shops since then, but said: ‘we have no way of checking because the eggs have been eaten’.

Chickfriend is now thought to have bought the pesticide from a Belgian supplier and investigators are now trying to find out if the Dutch firm was aware the product, said to be based on natural oils such as eucalyptus, contained fipronil. The pesticide is classed as ‘moderately hazardous pesticide’ by the World Health Organisation.

Note EU-Digest:  Reviewing Chemical Product Lists of chemical products sold in the EU reveals Fipronil is among one of the many poisonous (to humans) products sold by the US based company Dow Chemicals in the EU. The EU authorities and local European governments need to do a better job at overcoming the intense lobby efforts, of mainly US based companies, to sell harmful products like Fipronil in the EU.

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