The egg crisis, which started in the Netherlands and also affected other European countries, has given birth to hope among Turkish egg exporters, who think that Turkey will fill the gap that will arise when Ukraine, which is their biggest competitor in the Middle East market, withdraws from this market in order to meet the demand that will arise in Europe, according to a report by Turkish daily Dünya.
Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but the European Union has banned its use in the food industry. The insecticide has now been discovered in eggs in 17 European countries since the scandal broke out in early August, and was even found as far away as Hong Kong. Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves and dozens of poultry farms have closed, and the European Commission is to hold a crisis meeting in September.
The expectation that the demand that emerged after the crisis in the European market will be filled by Ukraine, which is a serious competitor of Turkey's in the Middle East market, has revealed hopes that Turkey will strengthen its position in the export of eggs in the Middle East.
Matlı Food Group and Chairman of Bursa Commodity Exchange Board Özer Matlı said that the problems experienced in EU countries could increase Turkey's export of eggs to Middle East countries. Matlı, who said that Turkey mainly exports eggs to countries such as Iraq, Qatar, Syria, Afghanistan, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, indicated that alone Matlı Gıda group last week sent 247 trucks loaded with eggs, while they sent 299 trucks this week, with their subsidiary Burdan Yumurta.
Şahin Aydemir, general manager of HasTavuk, which operates in many fields in the poultry sector such as breeding eggs, ovary and broiler chicks, pullet, concentrated feed and white meat, also pointed out that Turkey has advanced technology in the poultry sector when compared to other countries.
"The industry has an export potential of over $1 billion. After the egg crisis in Europe, eggs in markets in Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria and some parts in Germany have been collected. At this point, Ukraine will fill the gap that will emerge in Europe. We are in serious competition with Ukraine, especially in the Iraqi market. At this time, since Ukraine will meet the demand of Europe, while Iraq and even the Middle East will become a rising market for us," said Aydemir.
Moreover, Italy said it has found traces of fipronil in two egg samples, making it the latest country hit by the Europe-wide insecticide scandal, while a batch of tainted frozen omelets was also withdrawn. The two positive samples were from a total of 114 that have so far been tested. One involved Italian-sourced eggs, while the other was still under investigation, said the Italian health ministry.
Separately, a regional official said a batch of frozen omelets containing traces of fipronil had been withdrawn from sale in Milan. The omelets were supplied by German group Kagerr and distributed by an Italian group, a Lombardy regional official told reporters. He said 127 units from the batch had been withdrawn, but 117 had already been sold to consumers. Belgium became the first country to officially notify the EU's food safety alert system of the presence of tainted eggs on July 20, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. Italy's agricultural association, Coldiretti, called on the government to publish a list of the at-risk products in order to prevent mass panic over eggs. The association said Italians eat on average 215 eggs per person every year, and got a large part of them, about 610,000 kilograms worth ($1.72 million) between January and May, from the Netherlands.