The report into the Fipronil scandal found the Dutch egg sector did not have sufficient safeguards in place and knowledge of statutory regulations was ‘too limited’.
The UK is estimated to have imported 1.9bn eggs last year (according to the British Egg Information Service).
The majority of eggs imported into the UK are destined for processing or the food manufacturing industry.
The report followed further recent egg safety issues across the world:
- Eggs recalled in the US and Germany due to salmonella
- New Fipronil incident reported with eggs originating from the Netherlands
- More than 4m eggs recalled in Poland due to lasalocid (antibacterial agent) contamination
A small number of eggs containing the insecticide were found to have been distributed to the UK from farms affected in the Netherlands, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in August last year.
Fipronil had been used inappropriately in cleaning products on Dutch chicken farms and is not authorised for use as a veterinary medicine or pesticide around food-producing animals.
It is a broad-spectrum insecticide and is used as the active ingredient in flea control products for pets and home roach traps as well as field pest control.
Operators were urged to check the source of their eggs as the number believed to have been contaminated with Fipronil rose from an estimate of 21,000 to 700,000, a 3,233% increase.
High UK standards
Following this, food suppliers to the pub trade were implicated in the scandal after it was discovered stock held by several businesses had been made using contaminated eggs.
Ian Jones from egg processors British Lion said: “It is great the Dutch Government has written this report, which along with the recent UK Government report shows that egg production standards in the UK are higher and more effective.
“Since the Fipronil scandal broke last year, a number of UK food businesses have continued to import non-UK eggs and egg products and if they ignore these findings too, then those food manufacturers, caterers, wholesalers and retailers will face criticism of being complicit in supporting standards which may be lower [than those found in this country].
“With a number of other major egg safety issues recently reported, including a new Fipronil in eggs incident in the Netherlands, we hope the report acts as a wake-up call for egg producers in Europe and further afield, and they start to put in place new food-safety standards to guard against future incidents.”