German authorities in the northern state of Lower Saxony are investigating allegations of fraud over the mislabeling of eggs as organic.
The authorities have launched an investigation into allegations that 150 farms had mislabelled their eggs.
It is claimed that the hens live in conditions that do not conform to organic regulations.
The farm minister said that if the accusations are proved to be true, it would be “fraud on a grand scale”.
Farm Minister Ilse Aigner said in a statement that the mislabelling of eggs would be “fraud against consumers but also fraud against the many organic farmers in Germany who work honestly”.
German authorities in the northern state of Lower Saxony are investigating allegations of fraud over the mislabeling of eggs as organic
She urged regional governments to ensure the full implementation of tough German and EU laws on organic food production.
The investigations come as Europe’s food industry has been engulfed by a meat processing and labelling scandal after multiple processed meat products labelled as beef were revealed to contain quantities of horsemeat.
An additional 50 farms in two other German states are also under investigation for mislabelling eggs as organic.
Organic food is increasingly popular in Germany and consumers are willing to pay a premium for products they believe conform to strict standards.
Two years ago, a European Union-wide health alert was sparked when German officials said animal feed tainted with dioxin had been fed to hens and pigs, contaminating eggs, poultry meat and pork at affected farms.
Voters in the German state of Lower Saxony are going to the polls in a regional election seen as a bellwether for national elections later this year.
The state is currently controlled by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in coalition with the pro-market Free Democrats.
But opposition parties are hoping to make gains ahead of national elections in September.
Opinion polls suggested the race would be close.
David McAllister, the current leader of Lower Saxony’s government and close ally of Chancellor Merkel, will be hoping for re-election.
He was born in Berlin to a German mother and a Scottish father, and is seen as a possible successor to Chancellor Merkel as CDU leader.
But polls now put his CDU-led coalition neck-and-neck with the opposition Social Democrats (SPD).
The SPD have seen a previously comfortable lead over the incumbents evaporate as polling day approached.
The SDP leader in Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, said a victory in the state polls would ensure that his party was taken seriously in September’s national elections.
David McAllister, the current leader of Lower Saxony’s government and close ally of Chancellor Merkel, will be hoping for re-election
A CDU defeat in Lower Saxony would set alarm bells ringing for Angela Merkel, who is seeking a third term as chancellor in September.
Since Angela Merkel’s re-election as chancellor in 2009, the CDU has suffered set backs in recent state elections, and have lost power to the SDP and Greens in four other states.
There is also concern that the CDU’s coalition partners, the Free Democrats, will not win enough votes to maintain the coalition.
They require 5% of the vote to gain seats in the state legislature.
Angela Merkel has appeared several times on the campaign trail with David McAllister, who has played heavily on his Scottish roots.
Known as “Mac”, David McAllister has used bagpipes in his election broadcasts, and speaks English with a broad Scottish accent.