Effect of Fipronil Contamination Reviewed in GAIN Report


USDA-FAS GAIN Report E17077, released on December 1st, analyzed the effect of fipronil contamination on egg prices. The problem became evident in late July when Belgium notified the European Commission, Rapid Alert System of detectable residues. This led to a series of follow-up notifications involving 56 countries including nearly all the members of the E.U., Russia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, India and South Africa. These countries had either received eggs from the E.U. or producers had illegally used fipronil to control ectoparasites.

The GAIN report documented the rise in price of eggs from July with an equivalent price of $1,072 per ton delivered to packing stations compared to $1,726, or a 61 percent escalation through October when price attained a plateau. The average price for nest-run eggs into E.U. packing plants over the period 2012 through 2016 rose from $1,163 to $1,226, a 5 percent rise representing seasonal demand. Over the short term following the recognition of the extent of fipronil contamination, albeit at low levels, Belgian production dropped by 5 percent and in the Netherlands by 30 percent as affected flocks were depleted. Export of eggs from the E.U. was lowered by 10 percent following import bans imposed by various nations. The shortage of eggs in the E.U. was soon compensated for by exports from the Ukraine. Over the period January through October 2017, the E.U. received 2,933 metric tons of egg products compared to 1,572 metric tons for the corresponding period in 2016. The difference cannot be ascribed completely to fipronil as avian influenza played a role in reducing E.U. supplies in 2016.

The increase in exports of egg products to the E.U. represented a benefit of over $5 million to the U.S. industry.

(SMS 2,026-17 December 13th 2017)