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Customs: Thousands of kilograms of Dutch egg products imported to Finland

The Finnish Customs Board says that thousands of tonnes of egg products were imported from the Netherlands this year. Last week food safety authorities in Finland and across Europe scrambled to prevent consumers from buying Dutch eggs which were tainted with the toxic insecticide fipronil. Finnish food safety officials said that some Dutch egg products were likely used by the Finnish food industry. The agency did not rule out the possibility that the products could have been tainted with fipronil.

Kananmunia tuhotaan hollantilaisella maatilalla Onstweddessä.
A tractor driver dumps possibly-tainted chicken eggs in the Netherlands last week. Image: Patrick Huisman / EPA

Finnish Customs confirmed on Monday that thousands of tonnes of egg products have been imported to Finland from the Netherlands this year after initial indications that the tainted eggs had not reached the country. The Dutch eggs were subjected to a massive, continent-wide recall after tests revealed they contained excess levels of the insecticide fipronil.

The Finnish Food Safety Authority, Evira, says if the egg products used were tainted with the insecticide fipronil, it is a question of very small amounts.

Across Europe last week millions of tonnes of Dutch eggs were destroyed after it was discovered some were contaminated with high levels of the toxic insecticide fipronil. Finnish Customs said that no Dutch whole eggs had been imported to Finland.

Small amounts

But on Monday this week, Evira's director of food safety Leena Räsänen said that Dutch processed egg products had likely been used by the Finnish food industry.

"If the products contained fipronil, according to our calculations it is a question of very small amounts," Räsänen said. Despite the low risk, she said that Evira plans to carry out tests on the imported egg products.

According to Finnish Customs some of the possibly-toxic egg products that made it past the border include: dried egg yolks, egg whites and dried eggs.

Highly toxic substance

Customs said that so far this year some 8,000 kilograms of egg whites and 1,800 kilograms of dried egg products have been imported from the Netherlands to Finland.

Last year some 7,000 kilograms of albumin and 1,200 kilograms of dried eggs were imported to Finland from the Netherlands, according to Customs.

According to the World Health Organisation, fipronil is a highly toxic substance which can damage the liver, thyroid glands and kidneys if ingested in large amounts over time. Fipronil can also cause damage to the central nervous system and is banned from use in livestock.

Fipronil is also commonly used to rid dogs and cats of flea infestations.

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