On 22 July 2017, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Safety Authority (NVWA) made public that it was investigating the use of fipronil in the poultry sector. This announcement resulted not only from the discovery of Fipronil at a Belgian laying hen farm on 19th of June 2017 and the related notification by the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), but also from leads and an ongoing criminal investigation of the use of fipronil since 24 April 2017. The fact that the FASFC used the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed two days before must have encouraged the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Safety Authority to come out as well. According to the European Commission, the high number of notifications related to fipronil residues in eggs due to the illegal use of this substance as a biocide was the most intensive exchange of information in the history of RASFF and it helped to trace and remove the affected eggs from the market. The RASFF exists since 1979. It is now regulated in Regulation 178/2002 and Commission Regulation 16/2011. Resulting from this alert action was also taken by other authorities such as the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (Aecosan) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The Belgian finding was linked to a poultry company administering treatment for red poultry mite. It turned out that these companies were Chickfriend and Chickclean. This treatment involved the prohibited use of fipronil. The investigation had not only led the NVWA (as well as the FASFC) to take measures at a number of businesses, which include poultry farms where transport had been halted and businesses that had been forced to recall their eggs from trade. Fipronil is an insecticide used in treatments for mites, fleas and aphids. In the Netherlands, the use of Fipronil as is permitted only as a biocide and in animal medicine.
On 15th of October 2019, the highest Dutch administrative court on financial and economic law published its important decisions on the higher appeals against the preventive prohibition which was imposed on 180 companies by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Safety Authority (NVWA) on 22 July 2017. It was prohibited to move out and bring into trade chicken products (such as eggs). The measure was taken on the basis of a suspicion that they could contain Fipronil coming from products used to clean chicken barns. The decisions were quashed on procedural grounds but the material decision was upheld. See