Contaminated egg scandal widens to United Kingdom and France

France orders national investigation amid Europe tainted egg scandal

France orders national investigation amid Europe tainted egg scandal

The FSA said it had discovered up to 700,000 eggs had been imported to the United Kingdom from farms linked to use of the insecticide, Fipronil, which is banned in food-producing animals.

Dutch investigators on Thursday arrested two men suspected of being involved in the illegal use of the pesticide Fipronil at the poultry farms that sparked the scandal. The recalls were being carried out as fipronil is not authorised for use in animals used for or to produce food, the FSA added, rather than being pulled "for food safety concerns". Eggs in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium have been destroyed, withdrawn or blocked and well over 100 Dutch egg farms are still shut down whilst investigations continue.

Yesterday it emerged that Dutch authorities knew as far back as November that some eggs in the country were contaminated with the insecticide - but failed to notify their European partners at the time, claimed Belgium's agriculture minister.

Dozens of farms are being checked in the Netherlands, while Belgium's food safety agency is probing how Fipronil might have entered eggs destined for supermarkets.

The agency said the recalled products were processed foods containing eggs.

"We have no evidence that eggs laid in the United Kingdom are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately in the United Kingdom", it added.

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A European Commission spokesman said the Commission would "follow up" on the allegations.

The latest figure is much more than the previous estimate of 21,000, but the FSA still insists it is "very unlikely" that there is a risk to public health. It said: "The government has already taken action to prevent any risk to United Kingdom consumers by adding fipronil to its robust surveillance programme in United Kingdom farms".

The agency originally estimated that 21,000 contaminated eggs had been shipped to the United Kingdom, some of which may have been consumed, but today substantially increased the figure. The Netherlands closed 180 poultry farms as a result of the scare.

The administration had earlier this week said Denmark was unaffected by the tainted egg scandal spreading across Europe.

Luxembourg caterers Caterman and Carnesa also informed the authorities that it had received two batches of eggs coming from a supplier where contamination had occurred. An estimated five billion eggs are sold each year to Germany alone, according to a poultry farming union in the Netherlands. One company tested on July 18 was found to have Fipronil levels well below the European limit.

The insecticide can damage people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands if eaten in large quantities.

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