Contaminated eggs have been distributed in UK

Jon Howard
August 8, 2017

In large quantities, the insecticide is considered "moderately hazardous", according to the World Health Organisation, and can be unsafe to people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Belgium now has production blocked from 51 farms - a quarter of those nationwide - with fipronil found at 21 farms, although levels were ten times below the maximum European Union limit, the country's food safety authority AFSCA said.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarkets in Germany and the Netherlands in a widening scandal over possible contamination by the insecticide fipronil that has triggered investigations by prosecutors in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the temporary shutdown of some poultry farms.

Belgium meanwhile vowed full transparency about why it kept the scandal secret despite originally learning in June about the problem involving fipronil, a substance potentially unsafe to humans.

"As there have been reports from more and more (German) federal states about the discovery of fipronil in eggs, Aldi South and Aldi North have chose to remove all eggs from sale across the country", the two operators of Aldi supermarkets said in a joint statement.

Photo Farm workers discarded eggs in Onstwedde, the Netherlands, last week after concern about insecticide contamination.

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The French government said 13 batches of Dutch eggs contaminated with fipronil have been found at two food-processing factories in central-western France. "Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves", it said.

It said that it used a pesticide it got from a Belgian supplier and now there is an ongoing investigation about whether the Dutch company was aware of the toxic insecticide.

The poultry was then sold to about 180 Dutch farms, which have all had their egg sales stopped temporarily.

The European Union has notified British authorities as a precautionary measure that some eggs contaminated with an insecticide may have entered the country.

Fipronil can treat lice and ticks in chickens, but should not be used on food-producing animals because of its toxicity.

Contamination with the toxic chemical has prompted supermarkets in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to remove millions of eggs from their shelves, including the discount supermarket giant Aldi which announced Friday it was pulling all Dutch eggs from stores in Germany.

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