Fipronil scare costs Dutch poultry farmers 33 million Euros

Europe’s contaminated egg scare has cost Dutch poultry farmers at least 33 million euros ($39 million), according to a preliminary estimate by the government.

The scare, triggered by the presence of the insecticide fipronil in eggs, has spread to 18 European countries and even reached as far away as Hong Kong.

“Direct costs to the (Dutch) poultry sector where fipronil was used are estimated at 33 million euros,” Health Minister Edith Schippers and deputy economy minister Martijn van Dam said in a letter to parliament.

“Of this, 16 million euros is as a result of the subsequent ban while 17 million euros derives from measures to rid farms of fipronil contamination,” the ministers said.

The estimate does not include non-farmers in the poultry sector, nor does it take into account further losses in production by farms.

Wednesday’s letter also said investigators from the Dutch Food and Goods watchdog found that Chickfriend, the company that allegedly cleaned chicken pens with fipronil, used a second toxic substance called amitraz.

The insecticide, a mildly toxic chemical used to kill flies, was found to have been used on a single cattle farm that also held chickens, but was not found in the farm’s poultry section, the letter stressed.

Two owners of Chickfriend briefly appeared in court in connection with the case last week and remain in custody.

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