Dutch egg exports hit €347m last year, before the fipronil scandal

The Netherlands is by far the biggest exporter of eggs within the European Union, with exports valued at €347m in 2016, according to new figures from EU statistics agency Eurostat.

Next on the list is Poland, with exports of €181m, almost half that of the Netherlands. Germany is in third place with egg exports totalling €135m.

In total, EU member states exported eggs worth €960m – 90% of them going to other EU members. Germany is the biggest importer of eggs, while the Netherlands imported eggs to the value of €176m, Eurostat said.

The Dutch egg industry has been hard hit this year after it was discovered dozens of farms had been contaminated by a banned chemical known as fipronil.

At the height of the scare, 281 factory egg farms were under suspicion and over 180 were closed down and banned from selling their products. Millions of eggs were recalled from the supermarket shelves.

Import bans

A spokesman for the European Commission told a sitting of the European parliament’s agriculture committee in August that contaminated eggs were found in 22 countries within and outside the EU. Ukraine and Oman also imposed an import ban on eggs from the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium.

The Netherlands has almost 1,000 factory farms producing 11 billion eggs a year, of which more than half are exported.

The contamination scandal will hurt trade from the Netherlands and may spur other countries to increase domestic production, Chris Elliott, director of the Institute for Global Food Security, told Bloomberg at the time.

‘This scam is a disaster for egg and food industry in the Netherlands and they will struggle to retain market share due to the loss of trust and this will give a good opportunity to rivals to capture their market share,’ he said.

Wageningen agricultural university put total Dutch egg exports at €502m last year.