European commissioner vows to pursue Fipronil 'culprits'

After highlighting the Europe-wide repercussions of the illegal use of fipronil to control mites in poultry, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Ivaylo Georgiev, Freeimages.com
Ivaylo Georgiev, Freeimages.com

After highlighting the Europe-wide repercussions of the illegal use of Fipronil to control mites in poultry, the commissioner for health and food safety has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

According to Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, production has been blocked from hundreds of egg farms, and contaminated eggs and egg products have been destroyed. A total of 26 of the 28 EU member states as well as 19 other countries have become involved.

“While the risk to human health is low, the consequences of this criminal activity have impacted greatly the consumer confidence,” he said.

The commissioner was speaking at a press conference following an informal meeting this week of European agriculture ministers in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, at which the situation on Fipronil contamination of eggs had been discussed.

In order to learn lessons from the situation, he announced that investigations have been put in place aim to reveal a full picture of what occurred so that clear answers can be provided to EU citizens.

Those who pursue this kind of illegitimate business will be found and brought to justice, Commissioner Andriukaitis said.

“Let me conclude by reassuring the EU citizens that we will remain extremely vigilant and will not tolerate that actions of few people put in question the integrity, the reputation and the stability of our entire food chain, one of the economic pillars of the union,” he added.

Fipronil is an insecticide effective against mites. Its use for food-producing animals such as laying hens in Europe is banned due to its tendency to “bioaccumulate” in the body. The levels of Fipronil detected in eggs in recent weeks have generally not be high enough to pose a risk to people consuming them but they do represent illegal use of the pesticide.

Fact-finding missions are scheduled to be carried out in the coming weeks in the four EU states most affected by the egg contamination - the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria. A high-level ministerial meeting will take place in Brussels on September 26, aimed at strengthening the response of EU networks to food safety and food fraud.

Current challenges faced by Dutch farmers in the light of the “fipronil crisis” were discussed by the United Egg Producers (UEP) in the U.S..

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