• Germany's news in English
 

Prosecutors crack 'systematic egg fraud'

The Local · 25 Feb 2013, 08:07

Published: 25 Feb 2013 08:07 GMT+01:00

It would seem that millions of eggs had been sold under false pretences over the last few years, exploiting the willingness of some customers to pay extra for produce from more humanely kept birds.

Prosecutors in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, told Der Spiegel magazine they were investigating around 150 firms in that state and around 50 elsewhere. Frauke Wilken, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office told the magazine that initial investigations had begun in the autumn of 2011, and had revealed ever more suspect operations.

"The suspicion is that this is a case of systematic fraud. It is no minor matter - it would be deception of consumers," said Christian Mayer, the new Lower Saxony agriculture minister.

He said if the suspicions were proven, he would move to withdraw operation licenses from the relevant farms.

Those under suspicion were largely conventional farms, but some organic farms were also affected.

Chickens and their eggs can only be described as free-range if each animal has access to at least four square metres of space, while the description organic, or "bio" in German, requires further specific conditions.

Should any farmers be convicted of breaking the food produce and animal feed laws or organic farming laws, they could be fined or even imprisoned for up to a year. Charges of fraud could also be pressed.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:25 February 25, 2013 by twisted
How about withdrawing their license(s) and a nice big fine, something large enough so that the farmers know the government is serious about stopping this type of fraud.
10:22 February 25, 2013 by McM
What a yolk. More evidence of German inability to label their food correctly. How can the great BIO ( Big Investment Oportunity) scam survive and their sheepish customer base stay happy if there is so many differentiation cock ups going on in the food industry. You would have be naive to believe it was never the case.
12:13 February 25, 2013 by AlexR
"Systematic fraud" in Germany? I am shocked. I thought that only Greece, Italy and the other southern Europeans are corrupted while Germany is the beacon of transparency and honesty.

Seriously though, this kind of fraud was only a matter of time to be revealed. The last 5 years, the market is flooded with "BIO" products. Even at the discount supermarkets you find more BIO eggs, milk and meat than the "normal" ones, while the price is only slightly higher. Those two observations are more than sufficient to make anyone suspicious about the real origin of those "organic" products.
14:47 February 25, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
I always thought I was getting eggs laid by hens who were hand-reared by Buddhist monks on the Ganges delta. How could I have been so wrong? / Sarchasm
16:13 February 25, 2013 by Chalkster
@Berlin fuer alles.

Your daily comments triple my enjoyment of reading the local. I think the editors should give you your own column, where you could give a sarcastic, yet humourous, breakdown on the days news. Keep up the good work as not only do you hit the hammer square on the head, you bring many people a good laugh in these often too depressing times.
16:39 February 25, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
@Chalkster

TL prefer to remove my comments so I doubt they would offer me my own column. In any case if they did it would likely be on an internship basis. But thanks for the good feedback in any case. Life is too short to be taken too serious but is also too short to keep one's head buried in the sand.
22:00 February 25, 2013 by bwvilla
@Berlin fuer alles

If you make the same comment against enough articles, eventually someone will laugh.

c.f. The horse meat from Poland article.

Yawn...
23:03 February 25, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
@bwvilla

It applied to both articles so I made it on both articles. TL articles tend to repeat themselves a lot anyway. Yawn!
23:32 February 25, 2013 by US-TommyBoy
Over here in the states, I was always going to get a dozen chicks in the spring and feed them until they were big enough to fend for themselves and set them free in the neighborhood. Then we could all have free range chickens and eggs.

I didn't want to do the time for the crime, so I eat chemo eggs and chickens.

With all of the genetically modified corn and soybeans, if they feed them a kernel of either they aren't organic chickens, but they possible could be free range.

I hope you guys get the government to test the chickens that are free range for genetically modified grain in them.
23:33 February 25, 2013 by ChrisRea
@ AlexR

Of course fraud and corruption are to be found in any country, including Germany. Still Greece remains the champion, where apparently half of the population practices tax evasion, as a recent survey shows (http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_24/02/2013_484413). "The findings point to the fact that many Greeks still do not see tax dodging as a bad thing"
23:48 February 25, 2013 by Staticjumper
I wish the article described how this case came to light in the first place. Did a customer crack open some fraudulent "organic/free-range" eggs for breakfast and immediately notice the difference in color or smell? Did the eggs have a different taste or unusual texture? Other than labeling and, of course, price is there any way the customer can tell the obviously superior organic/free-range egg from standard eggs?
00:28 February 26, 2013 by grazhdanin
'humanely' means 'imprisoned' and 'exploited'?
Today's headlines
The Local List
7 ways Germans get English totally wrong
Don't let their confidence fool you: Germans aren't always the best at English. Photo: DPA.

7 ways Germans get English totally wrong

11 minutes ago

As much as English-speakers might feel insecure about their Deutsch skills when faced with Germans' comparatively widespread grasp of English, Germans themselves often mess up English - in some pretty hilarious ways.

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger at a press conference earlier this week. Photo: DPA

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees

55 minutes ago

Germany's World Cup-winning footballers have condemned xenophobic attacks on the thousands of foreigners pouring into their country and led calls to help the refugees amidst the ongoing crisis.

Islamist vigilantes face trial for 'Sharia police'
Islamic fundamentalist preacher Sven Lau. Photo: DPA

Islamist vigilantes face trial for 'Sharia police'

2 hours ago

State prosecutors in the Ruhr city of Wuppertal said on Tuesday that they have brought charges against notorious Islamic fundamentalist Sven Lau, who was behind a short-lived 'Sharia police' vigilante force in the city.

Are you a typical expat living in Germany?
Expats love German schools, but they're not so sure they receive a good welcome. Photo: DPA

Are you a typical expat living in Germany?

4 hours ago

A new survey is full of revealing facts about expats in Germany, why they came here, what they love and what they loathe. So how do you measure up?

Lufthansa pilots 'could strike at any moment'
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots 'could strike at any moment'

5 hours ago

Airline pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said on Wednesday that talks with Lufthansa had failed to reach an agreement and that their members could walk off the job at any moment.

Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees
Emergency services in Massow on Tuesday evening. Photo: DPA

Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees

6 hours ago

A man was arrested in Brandenburg on Tuesday evening after he attacked refugees with pepper spray while he was high on amphetamines. Eight of his victims were taken to hospital for treatment.

Ex-Chancellor Schmidt rushed to intensive care
Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was taken to hospital on Tuesday. Photo: DPA.

Ex-Chancellor Schmidt rushed to intensive care

8 hours ago

Helmut Schmidt, German Chancellor in the 1970s and early 1980s, has been taken into intensive care at a Hamburg hospital after suffering from a vascular obstruction in his right leg.

Smartwatches to shine at Berlin mega gadget fair
Photo: DPA

Smartwatches to shine at Berlin mega gadget fair

9 hours ago

Sleeker and sexier smartwatches are expected to premiere this week in Berlin at one of the world's biggest consumer electronics shows, with both phone manufacturers and watchmakers jostling for a share of the fast-growing market.

Poland to deploy army to hunt for Nazi gold train
An old mine shaft at Walbrzych in Poland. Photo: DPA

Poland to deploy army to hunt for Nazi gold train

9 hours ago

Poland said on Tuesday it would deploy the military to look for an alleged Nazi "gold train" that sparked global fascination after two anonymous treasure hunters claimed they had pinpointed where it is buried.

Munich woman bit sex attacker's tongue off
Photo: DPA

Munich woman bit sex attacker's tongue off

10 hours ago

A mother in Bavaria managed to bite off the tongue of a sex attacker who targeted her and her teenage daughter in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,937
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd