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Contaminated Eggs – The New Food Crisis

Until now, millions of eggs have been pulled off from the supermarket shelves in more than a dozen European countries after it was discovered that some had been contaminated with the pesticide Fipronil. Looks like the contaminated eggs are raising doubts on the integrity of European Nations.

The world health organization (WHO) says Fipronil is “moderately toxic” to people if it is eaten in large quantities and can have dangerous effects on the kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

The insecticide got into the food chain in the Netherlands. Now it has widened after the European Commission announced that atotal of 15 EU states, plus Switzerland and Hong Kong, are now known to have received egg products contaminated by an insecticide harmful to human health.

The EU countries known to be affected by the scandal are Belgium, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark. Products in British supermarkets were removed after it was discovered that the initial Food Standards  Agency  claim   that   

21,000 contaminated eggs had hit the UK was a major underestimate. The FSA now says the figure is more like 700,000.

But it cautioned that this number represents only about 0.007% of eggs consumed in the UK each year and that it was “very unlikely there is any risk to public health from consuming these foods”.

The contamination was first discovered on Dutch poultry farms, and some 180 farms which produce millions of eggs a week have been temporarily shut down while further tests are carried out.

It is thought that Fipronil was used in chicken farms to combat lice, affecting the eggs of laying hens.

The Dutch Government’s health institute citing the World Health Organization and European food safety authority says that in the few known cases of Fipronil poisoning in humans-mostly deliberate overdoses- the insecticide can lead to nausea, vomiting, dizziness and epileptic fits.Danish food authorities said boiled and peeled eggs, imported from a Belgian supplier had been 


found to contain traces of the Fipronil insecticide that has seen millions of eggs pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe.

The eggs were mostly sold to cafes and caterers, Danish authorities said stressing the eggs was too low to pose a health risk to humans.

The scandal also spread eastwards as tons of contaminated egg yolk was found in Romania and 21 boxes were discovered in Slovakia.

The Dutch public prosecutor’s office said its investigation was focusing on the “Dutch company which allegedly applied the Fipronil and the alleged Belgian supplier and a company from the Netherlands suspected of collaborating with the Belgian supplier.

The recent improvement in the case was the arrest of two suspects by the Dutch investigators. Meanwhile Denmark announced that 20 countries have been sold there.

The scandal only became public in late July, and soon after eggs was pulled from supermarket shelves in the Netherlands, Germany and elsewhere. It has since continued to widen.

The food scandal has deepened as Belgium accused the Dutch authorities of failing to sound the alarm after discovering eggs were being contaminated.

Belgium came in for criticism when it emerged it knew about the Fipronil contamination in early June but did not notify the European Commission until late July because of a fraud investigation.

However Belgian agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme has since hit back, accusing the Dutch of knowing about the problem as far back as November 2016. The NVWA has rejected the claim.

“When a country like Netherlands, one of the 

world’s biggest exporters of eggs, does not pass on this kind of information, that is a real problem,” Durcame said.

A Dutch company, Chick Friend, and a Belgian firm Poultry Vision are both under investigation.

The likelihood that the scandal would lead to recriminations had already been signaled when Germany demanded answers over claims that Belgium had known of the contamination since June.

The European Commission’s Food safety chief has called for an end to the “blaming and shaming”. The commission will hold a meeting with ministers and regulators on 26 September.

At various points over the last three weeks national authorities have insisted that the risk to human health is not high and that the crisis is under control.  As the scandal has widened to more and more countries, that reassuring line has been thrown into doubt by updates and clarification from the very same authorities.

This is just the latest in a long line of global safety crisis. Industrialized farming has been linked time and time again to outbreaks of E Coli, salmonella, listeria, bird flu, swine flu and mad cow disease.

Dutch and Belgian authorities may have known about the egg contamination two months ago, but the public is learning about it now. Why these authorities didn’t react till now?

This is the result of a greedy industrial system bending the rules because of poor food system where suppliers cut corners at the expense of public health just to make more profit. If we want to eat good food, we all should stand united against this..!!