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Consumers ‘left in lurch’ over Europe egg scandal

In the Netherlands, Else Steenbergen, 28, also told AFP that she was not scared.

“It’s in a number of different products and if you have to avoid everything that contains eggs, I don’t know what’s left.”

– ‘Nothing you can do’ –

A great deal of customers said they would simply buy their eggs from “safer” sources.

I buy organic eggs, and I think organic eggs weren’t affected, these were only imported eggs,” said Gosia Mieczkowska in London.

“I always check whether the stuff is imported or not. So I don’t feel particularly concerned, to be honest. There is nothing you can do really.”

While millions of eggs have been pulled off supermarket shelves all across Europe, retail chains say it’s too early to gauge what effect the scandal will have on sales.

“We don’t have numbers. But with every food scare, you always see some degree of reticence on the part of consumers,” said Axel Haentjes of BVLH, a federation of the biggest German food retailers including REWE, Edeka, Aldi and Lidl.

“There’s always a little dip in the sales” of the product concerned, he said, but the situation would return to normal “quickly”.

Barbara Pfenniger, of the Romande Consumer Federation, or FRC, in Switzerland, said she had received a number of enquiries from concerned consumers.

“Even though the majority of eggs bought by Swiss consumers are Swiss produced and therefore not affected, the scandal highlights the risks of fraud with foodstuffs of animal origin,” she said.

– Limited hit –

In France, the discounter Lidl has seen sales of battery eggs fall by around two percent, but that drop was being made up for by sales of eggs from other sources.

“In free-range or organic, there’s been no drop. On the contrary, stocks have been sold out in some shops,” said Michel Biero of Lidl France.

Customers had already been switching away from battery eggs prior to this scandal, he said.

“This will only amplify the trend.”

One comment

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