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Producers reassure consumers that Spanish eggs have had no contact with fipronil

Worker sorts eggs on a production line in Belgium
Worker sorts eggs on a production line in Belgium / AFP
  • The only reported appearance of foods contaminated by the insecticide in this country was in liquid egg products at a food company in Vizcaya

Spanish eggs do not come into contact with the insecticide fipronil, the association of producers has told consumers.

The reassurance comes in the wake of the Europe-wide health scare which has seen millions of eggs produced in the Netherlands removed from supermarket shelves in numerous countries. The eggs were found to contain levels of the toxic insecticide which is banned from use in the production of food for human consumption.

Mar Fernández of the Spanish association of egg producers ASEPRHU said that consumers in Spain have no need to worry because this country is self-sufficient and does not import eggs from other countries.

“No contaminated eggs have been detected here and the alert system works correctly,” she said.

Demand for Spanish-produced eggs had increased since the fipronil scandal was made public earlier this month, explained Fernández.

“There has been more demand from countries that normally import their eggs from the Netherlands and are looking for an alternative supply. This has in turn led to an increase in the price of eggs exported from Spain.

Francisco Olivares, president of the association of poultry farmers in Castilla-La Mancha, the country’s main egg-producing region, also sent out a message of reassurance.

“It is highly unlikely that eggs from the Netherlands and other countries where this problem has been detected get into Spain,” he said.

“The insecticides we use on poultry farms in Castilla-La Mancha are the authorised ones,” he said.

Spain produces 1.2 billion dozen eggs on 1,193 farms. Of these 20 percent are exported.

Liquid egg seized

The country’s self-sufficiency in eggs, however, does not mean that imported egg products are not used in food production in this country.

The presence of fipronil was found last week in a batch of liquid egg products at a food company in Vizcaya, in northern Spain.

Last Friday the Basque government’s Health Department seized 20,000 units of liquid egg, explaining that the batch was intact and had not yet been used for the production of food products.

The pasteurised liquid egg, which had been imported from France, was taken away to be destroyed, explained officials.

The food safety agency at Spain’s Ministry of Health (Aecosan) said after the discovery in Vizcaya, that Spain was still “unaffected” by the distribution of contaminated eggs. ”The control system in place allows the immediate location and removal of the products involved,” said the agency.

According to specialists, fipronil poses an “improbable” risk of intoxication for humans, who, with the maximum levels detected in Belgium and the Netherlands, would have to consume thousands of contaminated eggs in their lifetime to suffer adverse effects.