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Millions of infected eggs, more than 15 affected countries, investigations, mutual accusations, the closure of dozens of poultry farms and the seizure of large quantities of goods are an intermediate result of the "egg" crisis in Europe, which was actively developed at the beginning of August.
Hungary was another country that declared receiving of infected eggs. While the EU is calculating losses and trying to assess the scale of the crisis, let's try to figure out how it all started and what is the reason for the situation.
For the first time the problem showed itself in late July, when one of the Dutch regulators reported the temporary closure of the first seven farms, and then several dozen. As a result, 180 farms were closed, and it was then that the name of the fipronil chemical, which became the catalyst of the problem, was first announced.
At the same time, contaminated products were identified in Belgium, where more than 50 farms were closed.
In early August, the "fipronil" problem reached a pan-European level: in Germany, the chemical was detected in million batches of eggs sent to 12 of the 16 federal lands of the country.
The largest German trading networks announced the beginning of seizures of eggs purchased in the Netherlands, from the sale. Note that 70% of German egg imports are exactly the eggs from this country.
Later, the situation was actively developed. According to experts, Belgium and the Netherlands became the source of most of the infected eggs, where the chemical was used in hundreds of households.
To date, the Netherlands is one of the world's main exporters of agricultural products: Dutch hens give more than 10 billion eggs a year.
“The Local” clarifies that the current situation forced people to close about a fifth of the chicken farms in the Netherlands, and fourth in Belgium.
In addition, the infection forced them to start killing birds - at the moment, more than 300 thousand hens have already been killed, and this number is increasing every day.
The first rule of the egg problem: You do not talk about the egg problem
The Dutch and Belgian authorities conducted joint raids within the framework of the investigation, during which two people were detained.
The media first named the main culprits for the distribution of fipronil: it was the Dutch firm ChickFriend, which deals with the treatment of farms with insecticides, as well as the Belgian firm Poultry Vision, presumably supplying the composition with fipronil.
Two managers of ChickFriend were detained.
The "egg scandal” shifted to a diplomatic sphere when it became known that in Belgium the infected eggs were found out back in June, but people decided not to inform the EU about it "because of the reluctance to publicize the situation during the investigation." The incident was reported to the European Commission only on July 20.
The European Commission criticized such actions, saying that any country is obliged to inform Europe about threats to human health.
At the end of September an extraordinary meeting of the European Commission with the participation of relevant ministries and regulators is scheduled: in the EU they will try to understand the scale and consequences of the problem.
What is fipronil
This is a popular insecticide from the chemical group of phenylpyrazoles, designed to treat pets against fleas, lice and ticks. In the EU it is forbidden to use it in animal husbandry, and on farms producing food products.
If a large amount of insecticide enters the human body, it can cause paralysis, liver damage, kidney and thyroid gland damage, vomiting and headache.
The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that at the moment the detected content of fipronil in all recognized dangerous eggs is small. With this content, symptoms can manifest if a person ate at least a dozen eggs at a time.
In which countries the problem exists?
As the AP writes, according to the EU representative for trade and agriculture Daniel Rosario, as of mid-August, eggs with fipronil have been found in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Denmark, Switzerland And in Hong Kong.
Later, the list of affected countries included Hungary, Spain, Taiwan, Denmark, Bulgaria, Poland. However, it is worth noting that this list continues to replenish.
According to the Ukrainian State Consumer Protection Service, in Ukraine fipronil is not used for the destruction of parasites in poultry farming. In addition, in comments to Unian the agency stresses that in Ukraine there are no eggs from Europe, affected by a poisonous substance.