News 1014 views update:Mar 9, 2016

Investigation of German egg scandal drags on

German prosecutors are not gaining any momentum in their investigation on a recent egg scandal concerning the intentional mislabeling of eggs as free range.

The German investigators claim to have evidence that, over a number of years, poultry farmers, including organic producers, had systematically violated rules for the production of free range eggs. To be able to sell products as "free range", regulations stipulate a minimum of 4m2 for each animal on a poultry farm.  It has now emerged that several farmers kept more animals than permitted, but still sold their eggs for a higher price due to their free range status.

The German federation of poultry farmers (ZDG) demands that the investigation maintains momentum and wants a swift conviction of the infringers. However, the department of justice sees difficulties. The prosecutors were already doing one year of investigation before the scandal hit the mainstream media. Because of the extent of scandal, hundreds of farms are involved, it could take up to five years before all the evidence can be gathered.

What makes the situation even more complicated is the structure of the German free range production. It is a complex system of farms, feed mills and egg handlers, with less than perfect certification schemes. Records show that controls had long been lacking, with health officials often relying solely on written information submitted by the farmers, instead of actual spot-checks on site.

World Poultry

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