As the egg contamination scandal becomes a global concern, consumer trust in European producers is dropping.

The scandal involves eggs from the Netherlands contaminated with Fipronil, a pesticide typically used to kill ticks, flees, and lice. So far, eggs tainted with the pesticide have spread to 17 countries.

Contaminated eggs have made it as far as Hong Kong and as a result, the country's health minister recently declared: “the Centre for Food Safety is now inspecting eggs coming from Europe closely, no matter at the import or retail level”.

Although Singapore was not affected, its Agri-Food Veterinary Authority still felt the need to clarify that eggs in Singapore were not sourced from the relevant countries and were therefore safe for consumption. This is indicative of the rapid escalation of concerns and the reputational damage dealt to European egg producers.

Negative information tends to have a great impact. It is likely that even after the sources of the problem are dealt with, Asian consumers will continue to distrust European producers. According to GlobalData’s Q3 2016 consumer survey 65% of consumers globally say that how familiar / trust-worthy / risk-free a product feels often or always influences their choice in food products.

Involved countries have spent a great deal of effort trying to shed blame on their neighbors, but a strong publicity campaign will be required to rebuild credibility. Brands will have to regain the trust of disillusioned consumers, particularly those abroad.

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