Friday 14 May 2021

Men behind fipronil egg contamination scandal are jailed for one year

Contaminated eggs. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The owners of a company which sold illegal de-lousing chemicals to hundreds of egg producers, have been jailed for one year by a court in Zwolle.

Judges said the two owners of Chickfriend knowingly and deliberately used cancer-causing fipronil in their product, threatening the health of humans, animals and plants.

Millions of eggs and 3.5 million chickens were destroyed when the banned chemical was found in eggs produced on hundreds of farms in 2017.

The two men, Martin van de B. from Barneveld and Mathijs IJ. from Nederhemert both denied knowing that fipronil was in the ‘miracle’ delousing agent, and blamed their Belgian supplier.

But the court ruled that as the directors of a professional company, they should have been aware what the product contained.

Last month, poultry farmers again had their demand for government compensation over the fipronil in eggs scandal rejected, this time by appeal court judges, who said it is up to farmers to ensure the quality of their product.

That court ruled that the state did not act wrongfully in its approach to the 2017 crisis and that it could, therefore, not be held responsible for the damages.

Negligence

The farmers and farming organisation LTO say the government’s food and product safety board NVWA was negligent in dealing with the crisis.

They argued officials ignored reports dating from November 2016 that fipronil had been found in eggs following the use of the Chickfriend delousing agent.

And they claim if NVWA officials had taken the reports seriously, many farms would not have used the pesticide containing fipronil to control a type of chicken lice, and the scandal would not have become so widespread.

In 2018, a formal report into the contaminated egg scandal slammed egg producers, government inspectors and ministers for failing to put food safety first.

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