Sunday 25 August 2019

Food inspectors to check broiler chickens for banned pesticide

The Dutch food safety board NVWA is carrying out spot checks on chickens which are being raised for meat to see if they too have been contaminated with the banned pesticide fipronil, the AD said on Tuesday.

According to paperwork found at pest control firm Chickfriend, which is considered the source of the contamination, a number of meat chicken producers had also used the anti-lice product, the AD says.

The factory farms concerned have been banned from selling their chickens while the investigation is carried out.

Farm lobby group LTO Nederland says the affected farms produce both eggs and chicken meat. ‘Chickfriend has only used its products in the barns where the layer hens are kept,’ spokesman Eric Hubers told the paper.

The barns where broiler chickens are kept are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected every eight weeks after each consignment of chicken is slaughtered, he said.

Meanwhile, the contaminated egg scandal has led to supermarkets in Belgium and Germany removing eggs from their shelves. THe EU has also warned food safety bodies in Britain, France, Sweden and Switzerland about the possible contamination of their egg supplies.

Inspectors

Food safety experts have told the Financieele Dagblad that years of cuts have reduced the expertise of food inspectors to carry out proper checks.

If proper specialists had been available, they would have noticed that a two-man firm such as Chickfriend was claiming such spectacular results, food sector advisor Marcel Schuttelaar told the paper.

‘If a wonder product to combat lice came along, experts would have started an investigation much earlier,’ he said.

The decision to scrap food product boards in 2014 has also made the sector vulnerable, Schuttelaar said.

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