The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has prohibited the egg producer Brúnegg from bringing new hens into their farm in Mosfellsbær, near Reykjavík. The company’s eggs have been removed from most grocery stores after it was revealed that conditions at the farm were sub-standard and unsanitary.
The reason for the ban is that the level of ammonia in the buildings housing the hens is still too high. MAST has, furthermore, subjected the company to daily fines until the air quality has been improved.
Ammonia (NH3) is a pungent, suffocating gaseous compound, emitted from bird droppings. If the bird droppings are not removed, or ventilation improved, the level of ammonia will increase, causing the hens discomfort.
Brúnegg had been given an extension until March 1 this year to improve the air quality. The buildings were cleaned and new birds brought in, within the number limit required by MAST. Despite that, the level of ammonia was too high in the fall and increased between measurements. Thus, MAST finds the improvements made inadequate, justifying the daily fines.