Officials have arrested two directors from a Dutch poultry farm cleaning company alleging their company illegally mixed a pesticide – Fipronil – with a spray used to treat chickens with lice.
This forced millions of eggs to be pulled from the shelves in the Netherlands, Germany and across Europe and destroyed after they were found to contain traces of the pesticide. As a result, farmers have suffered around 33 million euros ($39 million) in losses.
According to a European Union official, 40 countries – including 24 EU members and 16 non-members – was affected by the contaminated eggs.
On Tuesday, Vytenis Andriukaitis, the official in charge of health and food safety for the European Commission, said that only four countries – Lithuania, Portugal, Cyprus and Croatia – from the 28-nation EU remain unaffected.
And, so far, no one has been reported ill.
Early last month, following the discovery of Fipronil, chickens were subjected to culls, quarantines and other measures aimed at preventing the production of contaminated eggs.
The accused will remain in custody for 30 days while probes continue. A court said that “there are sufficient serious concerns and reasons” to extend the men’s detention.