Muscat, August 13 – The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has said all precautionary measures are in place to ensure that table eggs imported from European countries to the Sultanate are safe for consumption.
The assurances come in the wake of reports of detection of use of Fipronil insecticide in the farms of The Netherlands. Fipronil is a popular insecticide for treating pets for fleas and ticks but it is forbidden for use in the food chain.
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers Fipronil to be moderately toxic and says very large quantities can cause organ damage.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the ministry said it has currently stopped the issuance of any new licences for the import of table eggs from European countries.
It has directed specialist veterinarians in the veterinary quarantine offices at all border check-posts to intensify the examination procedures by taking samples from all table eggs imported from the European countries, irrespective of whether the importer had permit and the products had reached the ports of the Sultanate earlier.
These eggs will be subject to necessary laboratory tests to ensure they are free of any pathogens.
It is also coordinating with the local regulatory authorities in the Sultanate to ensure that the eggs already available in the markets are also subject to laboratory tests.
The ministry affirmed its continued keenness to follow up on any developments in this regard and take necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of all consignments received in the Sultanate.
Millions of chicken eggs have been pulled from European supermarket shelves as a result of the scare over the use of Fipronil and hundreds of thousands of hens may be culled in The Netherlands.
The EU countries known to be affected by the problem are Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark.