Insecticide egg scandal: Here’s how to read hens’ eggs

Hens' eggs are all stamped with information on their origin

Advice on how to read the information on hens’ eggs has been circulated online after news that the egg insecticide scandal has spread into France.

France, which had previously been thought untouched by the crisis, has now confirmed that potentially-affected eggs from the Netherlands were delivered to two food factories in July.

Eggs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Sweden have already been pulled from supermarket shelves after the news broke that they had been affected by the insecticide fipronil, allegedly used to combat red lice in breeding farms despite the EU banning its use on animals destined for the human food chain.

Consumers have already been warned to check for ‘NL’ on their eggs, but the Huffington Post has published a handy infographic guide on what the rest of the markings and numbers on eggs mean, to enable shoppers to fully understand the origin of their eggs.

Diagram: The HuffPost

As shown, the first digit shows the type of farm - caged, some room to move, free-range or organic - with the next two figures denoting the country of origin (such as NL for Netherlands, BE for Belgium, or FR for France).  

The next letters and numbers refer to the code of traceability for the farm, with French eggs identifying each farm by three letters, and two numbers showing the building or unit number on the farm itself.

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