National egg prices are still about 50% higher than they were a year ago, due to the crisis sparked by the contamination of eggs with the insecticide, Fipronil. Demand has outstripped supply following the Fipronil scandal that led to the destruction of 77,375,000 eggs and the euthanising of 1,900,000 hens in Belgium, and pushed prices up. Producers expect the situation to return to normal as production bounces back.
According to Federal Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme, the economic cost of the crisis amounted to 21 million euros.
It takes about 20 weeks to replenish stocks, says Louis Pyfferoen, who represents producers on the commission charged with setting national egg prices. While high prices suit those producers who were not affected by the crisis, the sector still has mixed feelings, he explains. “Many colleagues are at their wits’ end,” adds Pyfferoen. “We are in solidarity with colleagues unable to benefit from the high prices. No-one is satisfied with this situation.”
The European Commission had approved support measures for the Belgian sector in late 2017, but for now, supply is still too low, and the commission charged with setting egg prices by auction in Kruishoutem, West Flanders, has now set them 50% higher than one year ago.