Dutch authorities (NVWA-IOD) arrest 2 men in fipronil case

Today NVWA's intelligence and investigation services (NVWA-IOD) arrested 2 suspects in the criminal investigation of the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) in the fipronil case. These suspects are the 2 directors of a company that has allegedly used the product in poultry houses in the egg sector. The NVWA-IOD searched a total of 8 locations in the Netherlands in a coordinated action of Dutch and Belgian investigation services.

Joint investigation team

The Dutch NVWA-IOD and the OM have formed a joint investigation team (JIT) with the Belgian investigation services. During today's action, 12 locations were searched in Belgium. The coordinated action took place with the support of Eurojust and Europol.

The Dutch investigation focuses on a Dutch company that has allegedly applied the fipronil, and on the presumed Belgian supplier and a Dutch trader who worked together with the Belgian supplier. The company and the 2 directors who have allegedly applied the product, the Dutch trader, the Belgian supplier and its owner are suspected of threatening public health by the delivery or application of the biocide fipronil in poultry houses in the egg sector. In addition, they are suspected of having a prohibited biocides in their possession. The suspicion is that fipronil has been used in poultry houses to fight blood mite. By doing so, chickens could get infected and the eggs laid by those chickens also contain a certain amount of fipronil. Under investigation are the extent and period of application of the product.

Searches

The NVWA-IOD searched in the Netherlands the houses of the two detained men from the municipalities of Barneveld and Zaltbommel. In addition, a house in the municipality of Ede, where one of the suspects stayed, was searched. Also in the municipality of Bergen op Zoom a house that may be associated with the Belgian supplier was searched. In the vicinity of Uden, the home of a suspected Dutch trader of the fipronil was searched. In the municipality of Ede a warehouse was searched. On request of the Belgian authorities 2 other locations were searched. In addition to administrative items, valuable goods, such as cars, real estate and bankaccounts, were also seized, because crime must not pay.

The investigation

The criminal investigation under the auspices of the OM started in mid-July. In the criminal investigation, samples were taken at the poultry farms and samples were taken of the substances in the equipment of the company that used the product in the poultry farms. On 24 July, the NVWA-IOD took administrative items from a suspected trader of the product in the vicinity of Uden. The Dutch trader was heard as a suspect on 31 July.

Fraud undermines society

Companies supplying products for the food chain are socially responsible for keeping the rules and regulations in place. The rules are there to ensure food safety. Fraud undermines trust in food safety. The use of prohibited products in the food chain can endanger food safety and it leads to an uneven playing field and distortion of competition. Therefore, the government is opposed to this.

More information

Journalists who have any questions about this press release can contact the National Public Prosecutor's Press Office at +31 6 48 13 52 72.