Poisoned egg case from poultry breeders in the Netherlands

Millions of Euros of damage

Poultry breeders in the Netherlands have filed a lawsuit against the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) for violating their duties during the 2017 “fipronil crisis” in which thousands of chickens were culled.

Poultry farms accuse NVWA of withholding information from them. Farmers will seek compensation from the government if The Hague Court finds the official body NVWA guilty.

In July 2017, a substance called fipronil, which is stated to be harmful to health and whose use is prohibited, was found in eggs produced in chicken farms in the Netherlands.

It was determined that the banned fipronil was transmitted to the eggs through the insecticide used against aphids by the company Chickfriend. The incident is known to the public as the “poisoned egg” scandal.

It turned out that many chickens and farms were affected by fipronil, as hundreds of companies received spraying services from a company called Chickfriend.

Thousands of chickens in these farms were culled by government decision. Millions of eggs collected from market shelves and farms were also thrown away. Dutch poultry breeders suffered losses of tens of millions of euros.

An independent commission headed by former minister Winnie Sorgdrager conducted an investigation into the fipronil crisis on behalf of the Dutch government.

The Commission concluded that the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority received anonymous reports in 2016 about the illicit use of fipronil at the pre-crisis company Chickfriend.

According to Hennie de Haan, President of the Dutch Poultry Breeders’ Union, the NVWA did not share this information with the poultry industry.

In a statement to Dutch Television (NOS), De Haan said, “As there was no information sharing, we could not show the right decision-making reflex as an industry. NVWA could have helped us to limit the illegal use of fipronil.”

According to the union president, the farmers thought that the insecticide containing fipronil was based on volatile substances and therefore could be used safely.

A new process will begin if The Hague Court decides that the authorities withheld information from poultry producers and acted negligently in the fipronil crisis.

The poultry industry will apply for compensation against the government to cover tens of millions of euros in damage.