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Food safety authority: Tainted Dutch eggs will likely not reach Finland

The Finnish Food Safety Authority says it is impossible to say for sure whether potentially-toxic eggs originating from the Netherlands have entered Finland, but the EU's alert system claims they haven't. Tests demonstrating high levels of the insecticide fipronil in Dutch-origin eggs have led to massive recalls in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. Some 180 Dutch farms have been temporarily shut down pending a criminal investigation.

Kananmunia tuhotaan Ontsweddessa, Alankomaissa 3. elokuuta.
Eggs suspected of containing dangerous levels of the banned pesticide fipronil are destroyed in Ontswedde, Netherlands on August 3. Image: Patrick Huisman / EPA

Millions of eggs were withdrawn from the market in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium this week, after tests of chicken droppings, blood and eggs showed high levels of the illegal insecticide fipronil.

Fibronil is a veterinary product for getting rid of fleas, lice and ticks, but regulations prohibit its use in animals destined for human consumption. The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira says that fipronil is not used in Finland.

According to the World Health Organisation, the highly toxic substance can damage the liver, thyroid glands and kidneys if ingested in large amounts over time.

The Authority's director Thimjos Ninios says it is impossible to say whether some tainted eggs have crossed Finland's borders.

"But data from the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed leads us to believe that these eggs are not in Finland," he says, adding that no recall is in effect.

Eleven billion eggs

Nearly one thousand Dutch factory farms produce 11 billion eggs every year. More than half of these eggs are exported, mainly to Germany.

Finland produced 72.6 million kilos of eggs in 2016, and figures from the Natural Resources Institute Finland shows that Finns consumed almost 12 kilograms of eggs per capita last year, a three percent increase on the year before.

Ninios says there is minimal chance that something similar could happen in Finland, because the use of such substances is very well monitored.

"A veterinarian's prescription is required to use medication on an animal, and this process is monitored closely in Finland," he says.

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