More than a hundred chicken farmers and the trade association LTO Nederland hope to be proven in a case against the state because of the so-called fipronil crisis before the court in The Hague. The poultry farmers accuse the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) of not seriously addressing the matter. That would be an illegal act. The court disagreed with the plaintiffs this past year.
The Netherlands were under the spell of the affair for weeks in 2017. A company called ChickFriend was found to be using a banned drug to control the dreaded red mite in the industry: Fipronil. The material is harmful to health in large quantities, its use in the poultry sector is prohibited. As a result, around 200 poultry farms had to be cleared. Supermarkets had to collect eggs en masse on the shelves and destroy them. The sector suffered tens of millions in financial damage.
According to plaintiffs, the NVWA should have stepped in earlier and warned the industry about ChickFriend’s practices. The authority had already received signals at the end of 2016. However, the judge ruled that it is the responsibility of the poultry farmers to inquire about the resources used in their homes. In addition, a warning would have hampered the criminal investigation into the matter.
Barneveld-based ChickFriend and ChickClean and their owners are responsible for any damage caused to their customers. The court in Arnhem found this in another case in May. Against the owner Mathijs IJ. and Martin van de B. is still under criminal investigation.