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Dutch organic farmers feel duped in tainted eggs scandal

The Hague, Netherlands | AFP | Dutch farmers producing organic eggs, supposedly free from insecticides, joined a chorus of outrage Friday over the growing tainted-egg scandal, claiming they were duped by the suppliers of a reputedly natural pesticide.

“Organic breeders are very depressed and feel they were fooled by the Chickfriend company, which supposedly sold them a clean and natural product,” said Miriam van Bree, spokeswoman for the Bionext organisation for organic farming.

At least 20 organic egg farmers have been affected by the scandal in which millions of eggs have been contaminated with fipronil — a chemical which can be harmful to humans. They believed they were using a product which was based on eucalyptus and menthol.

“Organic breeders always are doing everything they can to have the cleanest, healthiest and longest-lasting eggs that they can be proud of,” Van Bree told AFP.

“Today their eggs are contaminated with an insecticide… it’s a huge disappointment,” she said.

The presence of a mildly toxic substance like fipronil in organic eggs also had “repercussions for consumer confidence” which has been given “a huge knock”, she added.

Organic farmers now too have to rid their chicken pens from fipronil and were hamstrung because they could not use the same chemical products as commercial farmers.

“They will have to think hard about how they can clean their farms — it’s a unique situation for them,” said Van Bree.

The best way was to “put the contaminated chickens on a diet, as fipronil is concentrated in the bird’s fat,” said Van Bree, who excluded the possibility of slaughter because of animal welfare concerns.

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