Suspended prison sentences and millions of euro in compensation at   fipronil trial

Two companies and three of their staff have been given suspended prison sentences and issued with fines (most of which suspended) for their involvement in the 2017 fipronil crisis.  However, they will have to pay millions of euro in compensation. The fipronil crisis resulted in the destruction of millions of eggs after traces of fipronil were found in eggs laid by chickens that had been treated with a product to keep them free of red mite. As well as the destruction of millions of eggs millions of chickens also had to be destroyed as a measure to prevent fipronil from entering the food chain. The fipronil crisis was greatly damaging to the poultry industry.



The investigation into the fipronil crisis discovered that the company Poultry-Vision (that has since gone bankrupt) had mixed fipronil with a legal pesticide in order to create a product that would combat red mite on chickens more effectively. The Judicial Authorities say that this was done deliberately and that the prime suspect in the case acted “out of pure greed”. The Judicial Authorities had requested prison sentences of 4 years and fines of 960,000 euro.

However, the Judge was more lenient than this and gave the primarily responsible for fipronil crisis sentences of between 18 months and 3 years, the lion’s share of which suspended. The fines issued to these individuals and there companies too were for the most part suspended. The other suspects were aquitted.

Meanwhile, those found guilty will have to pay out millions of euro in compensation to the poultry companies that saw their livestock and eggs destroyed. The judge read out a long list of companies that are to receive several hundred thousand euro each in compensation. The total amount of compensation payable exceeds 20 million euro.

The question remains as to whether those that have been ordered to pay compensation are in a position to be able to do so. Those convicted can take leave to appeal if the so wish.

The Federal Food Safety Agency says that it is pleased with the court’s ruling. "It is a sign that food industry fraud is being taken seriously”. 

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