Expert talk on the ongoing fipronil crisis

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I was invited to give a talk before the national commission investigating the use of the biocide fipronil in the egg sector.

Since the summer of 2017 millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves in more than a dozen European countries. The cause of this extensive recall was the discovery of eggs contaminated with the potentially harmful biocide called fipronil. While this substance is commonly use to do away with fleas, lice and ticks, its use on animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens, is banned in the EU.

Nonetheless, fipronil got into the food chain in the Netherlands after it was used by disinfection and cleaning services specialists at Dutch chicken farms. The Netherlands is one of Europe’s biggest egg producers and contaminated eggs have now been found as far away as Hong Kong. The matter was discussed by EU agriculture ministers at the Tallinn summit last September.

The response of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) to the discovery of fipronil in the food chain has been deeply criticized by the Dutch egg sector, consumers, and (thus) in parliament. The Dutch government has now commissioned a research on the NVWA’s response in the crisis and, more broadly, on the relative responsibilities concerning food safety for the private and public sector. The member of the Council of State, Ms. Sorgdrager, chairs the commission and is anticipate to offer her findings to the government by the end of December 2017.

Press release Dutch government (in Dutch only)

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