Egg scandal affecting over 15 countries

Posted August 12, 2017

The European Commission said all had received eggs contaminated with the pesticide fipronil, adding that a meeting of EU ministers to discuss the scandal had been provisionally scheduled for September 26.

It is thought it was added to disinfectant in some chicken farms.

If consumed in large amounts, the insecticide is considered to be "quite hazardous" according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as it can severely affect people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a recall for egg sandwiches and salads from British supermarkets after revealing that up to 700,000 eggs sold in the United Kingdom may have come from European farms linked to a contamination scare over a banned insecticide.

As a result, four major British supermarket chains have withdrawn some products containing eggs, including sandwiches and salads, the Food Standards Agency said.

"Many of the eggs involved were mixed with other eggs which have not come from affected farms, so fipronil residues will be highly diluted", said the agency, referring to the insecticide which was first found in Dutch eggs.

The news comes as investigators carried out coordinated raids linked to the Fipronil probe in Belgium and the Netherlands.

It is illegal to use pesticides at a poultry farm.

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A row has erupted over how long Belgian and Dutch authorities have known.

Millions of eggs and egg-based products have been pulled from European supermarket shelves in at least 11 countries, since the scandal went public August 1.

But the Food Standards Agency said the contamination posed a low risk to the public.

The joint action comes a day after Belgium accused the Netherlands of knowing about the problem involving fipronil in eggs since November past year, but failing to inform them until July.

Dutch and Belgian police have been investigating reports of contamination in their jurisdictions while some supermarkets in Germany withdrew stocks of eggs earlier this month.

Belgian investigators meanwhile identified 26 people or companies as suspects during the 11 raids by police and food safety agency officers, for offences including fraud and breaking European Union food laws.

The FSA said 85% it had "no evidence" that any eggs laid in the United Kingdom were contaminated.

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