Two arrested in Netherlands over egg scandal
The two suspects are directors of the Dutch company Chickfriend from the village of Barneveld, which is suspected of having delivered illegal treatment against blood lice by using the harmful pesticide Fipronil to poultry holders. Their homes in Barneveld and Zaltbommel have been searched.
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) leads the investigation on the contaminated eggs, while the public prosecutor leads the criminal investigation, which started in mid-July this year already.
In total the Intelligence and Investigation Services of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA-IOD) searched on eight different Dutch locations. It is a joint action by the Dutch and Belgian authorities. Also in Belgium, several locations were searched.
Fipronil is a pesticide considered as slightly poisonous by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is widely used to fight lice. For animals destined for the food chain, it is forbidden because it may damage the human liver, thyroid and kidney.
The finding of Fipronil in Dutch eggs led to a national egg crisis, with millions of eggs being taken out of the supermarkets since the start of August, around 180 poultry companies being closed and millions of chickens being killed.
The crisis also crossed the border into Belgium and Germany, with millions of eggs removed from the shop shelves as well. ■