European farmers expect to pay the price of an eggs contamination scandal stemming from the Netherlands and affecting various other nations the continent. As Silvia Antonioli reports, this is a hard blow for a sector that had only just started to recover from a bird flu epidemic.
An egg-splosive scandal. European farmers are bracing for the economic consequences of a toxic eggs scare. After the Netherlands warned of possible contamination with the harmful insecticide Fipronil various major European supermarkets have pulled of millions of eggs from their shelves. Now millions of hens may need to be culled in the Netherlands. Toxic eggs have likely been exported to Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Britain. But there's been a row about who knew what, when. (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER, DENIS DUCARME, SAYING: "When a country like the Netherlands, one of the biggest exporters of eggs in the world, does not exchange this type of information, that is a real issue." Dutch and Belgian authorities have traced the source of the insecticide to a cleaning products supplier in the Netherlands. Large quantities of Fipronil can cause organ damage in humans and the German agriculture minister said that the contamination was "criminal", Dozens of poultry companies were temporarily closed to avoid further contamination. (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) BELGIAN FARMER, PAUL GEENS, SAYING: "My farm was shut down for ten days because I was on the client list of that infamous company, although I never purchased their products." But Geens says he expects a fall in sales nonetheless due to the health scare. This is a hard blow for a sector that is still recovering from a bird flu epidemic last year.