- Title: German regional minister calls on government not to downplay egg scandal
- Date: 8th August 2017
- Summary: HANOVER, GERMANY (AUGUST 8, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF LOWER SAXONY AGRICULTURE MINISTRY MEDIA NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (German) LOWER SAXONY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, CHRISTIAN MEYER, SAYING: "The level of the Fipronil scandal in Lower Saxony remains the same as when it was first announced. Four laying-hen farms have been shut down where there were noticeable levels of Fipronil, one pullet farm and the infamous letterbox company, which we are still investigating. The federal prosecution is involved so I won't give any details of that at the moment. But that is the ominous fifth company and if there are others then this is a matter for the federal prosecution." MEYER DURING NEWS CONFERENCE MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) LOWER SAXONY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, CHRISTIAN MEYER, SAYING: "We are working on the assumption that some 16 million affected eggs have been sold and eaten domestically and abroad from these Lower Saxony businesses. And we are now aware that the Belgian authorities are working on the presumption that this forbidden insecticide has been in circulation since June." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (German) LOWER SAXONY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, CHRISTIAN MEYER, SAYING: "All of the 280 samples outside of these four businesses have come back negative and I think this is a good sign for an eventual all-clear and here some praise for the farmers so that we can put it into context. 130,000 laying-hens have been penned in from 18.3 million hens being kept in Lower Saxony. So if my sums are correct, that is under one percent." NEWS CONFERENCE SEEN THROUGH VIEWFINDER (SOUNDBITE) (German) LOWER SAXONY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, CHRISTIAN MEYER, SAYING: "I have once again asked the federal government to not use these incomprehensible texts from the BFR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) that about these daily doses. They need to clearly admit that with a consumption of on-average two eggs a day - according to calculations made regarding Lower Saxony - the levels for children are significantly over the warning levels provided by the EU. So there is a risk of harm being caused by these products. So that is why I appeal once more to the federal health - I mean Federal Agriculture Minister - actually it wouldn't hurt of the federal health minister actually made a comment - to not play this down. We have asked several times for the substance Fipronil to be included in the regular sample probes carried out by the government including in processed foods so that we can keep on top of this." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS MEYER LISTENING JOURNALIST TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (German) LOWER SAXONY ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, STEFAN WENZEL, SAYING: "For me it is essential, to stick with... and that is why I absolutely don't condone these calculations put forward by the BFR where they have calculated how many eggs an adult or a small child can still consume. In my opinion this underplays the systematic effects of these sorts of substances and that is why I say it is essential to abide by the principle of precaution and to remove these sorts of substances form the market if one doesn't know enough about the long-term of systematic effects."
- Embargoed: 22nd August 2017 17:23
- Keywords: egg scandal Netherlands Belgium Germany Lower-Saxony ministers agriculture
- Location: BERLIN, FRANKFURT, LANDSHUT, HANOVER, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, FRANKFURT, LANDSHUT, HANOVER, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA0016TAR9S7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Regional ministers in the German state of Lower Saxony on Tuesday (August 8) urged the government not to downplay the contamination of millions of eggs with a potentially harmful insecticide Fipronil.
Lower Saxony, which borders the Netherlands has shut down five hen farms over the scandal with investigations ongoing into a letterbox company that may also be involved.
Speaking from the state capital Hanover, the regional minister of agriculture, Christian Meyer, said that while the contaminated farms had been contained it was essential that the government took the matter seriously.
"They need to clearly admit that with a consumption of on-average two eggs a day...the levels for children are significantly over the warning levels provided by the EU. So there is a risk of harm being caused by these products," Meyer said.
Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarkets in Germany and the Netherlands in a widening scandal over possible contamination by Fipronil that has triggered investigations by prosecutors in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the temporary shutdown of some poultry farms.
Fipronil is a popular insecticide to treat pets for fleas and ticks but it is forbidden for use in the food chain because it may cause organ damage in humans if large quantities are ingested.
Dutch and Belgian authorities have pinned the source of the insecticide to a supplier of cleaning products in the Netherlands.
Batches of possibly contaminated eggs from the Netherlands and Germany had also been shipped to Sweden, Switzerland, France and Britain, EU filings showed last weekend.
The issue has drawn widespread attention in Germany and discount supermarket chain Aldi on Friday (August 4) said it was withdrawing all eggs from sale at its more than 4,000 stores in Germany as a precaution.
The World Health Organisation considers fipronil to be moderately toxic and says very large quantities can cause damage to the kidneys, liver and lymph glands.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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