Dutch poultry farmers are planning to take legal action against the food safety board NVWA over the contaminated egg scandal, RTL Nieuws said on Friday.
Farmers are furious that the organisation failed to act after being tipped off that Dutch company ChickFriend was using the banned pesticide fipronil to delouse chickens.
‘It is incomprehensible,’ chicken farmer Helmus Torsius told the broadcaster. ‘All the alarm bells should have been ringing after the anonymous tip-off.’
Torsius, who has 100,000 chickens on a farm in Putten, is one of 180 farmers who have been hit by the egg scandal. ‘We want compensation for all the damage we have suffered,’ he said. The Dutch poultry farmers union puts the total bill at €150m.
Lawyer Piet-Hein van Spanje, who represents 20 poultry farmers, told RTL that they have a strong case.
‘We have to decide when to make the claim,’ he said. ‘We do see that the NVWA has been negligent. The facts are clear. The government might say farmers should have been more careful, but our response is that the NVWA is the watchdog and farmers themselves could not have known [about the contamination].’
MPs are due to debate the scandal next week. In particular they want to know why no action was taken after the tip-off in November 2016.
Helmus said he has been unable to sell any eggs for the past two weeks, has had to destroy 25,000 free-range hens and 300,000 organic eggs. ‘My chickens are on a diet costing me €30,000 a week,’ he said.
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