NVWA cautions consumers against eating eggs with specific egg code

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) cautions consumers against eating white eggs with the code 2-NL-4015502,* because of severely elevated levels of the harmful substance fipronil posing an immediate public health risk upon consumption. This warning concerns the eggs of a single producer, which are currently being recalled from the shelves. It is recommended that consumers throw away these eggs.

Other eggs were found to contain fipronil concentrations exceeding the daily allowed intake for children in case of prolonged consumption. The codes for these eggs are as follows: X-NL-41679XX, X-NL-42071XX, X-NL-42659XX, X-NL-42766XX, X-NL-43113XX, X-NL-43326XX, X-NL-43514XX, X-NL-43640XX, X-NL-43835XX, X-NL-43879XX.** As a precaution, it is recommended that parents prevent their children from eating eggs with any of these codes until further notice.

The poultry farmers concerned will remove the eggs from sale under the supervision of the NVWA. The egg codes concerned are also listed on the NVWSA website. As more and more results from the analysis of egg samples will become public in the course of this week, the list on the website will be modified accordingly.

Samples from farms subject to the transport ban

This warning was issued on the basis of initial results from egg samples taken over the past week in the retail sector as well as at poultry farms that have been treated for red poultry mite by a poultry service company in the last 6 months. The suspicion is that this treatment involved the use of fipronil, even though this substance is prohibited in the poultry sector.

The NVWA started the investigation of these companies on Wednesday, 25 July 2017. It has thus far halted transport at around 180 laying hen farms, breeding farms and egg hatching farms on the suspicion of fipronil use. The NVWA has taken samples of eggs, and in some cases manure and chicken meat, from all sheds on all of these farms. It has also sampled eggs from within the retail sector.

The initial results of the egg samples have led the NVWA to issue this public warning. In the meantime, the NVWA has started to notify businesses for which it is clear whether or not their eggs contain fipronil. Businesses whose eggs have tested positive for fipronil are required to remove their eggs from sale. The NVWA will monitor this process and ensure that the companies concerned do not resume transport.

Fipronil

Fipronil is an insecticide often used in veterinary remedies for fleas, mites and ticks. Its use is prohibited in animals destined for consumption, such as chickens. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), fipronil is 'moderately toxic' to humans. It may damage the kidneys, liver or thyroid gland if consumed in large quantities. In case of prolonged consumption, fipronil can become a health hazard.

* Update 2 August 2017 – Since the release of the original statement, the full shed-level code for eggs with excessive fipronil concentrations has become known. The code is found on white eggs and reads 2-NL-4015502.

** This code refers to the level of the farm. Each egg contains an egg code, which has been stamped onto the egg. The 5 digits allow you to check your eggs; note that the X can stand for any number.

More informatie

Journalists who have any questions about this press release can contact the NVWA Press Office at +31 88 22 33 700.