Supermarkets urgently recall products amid contaminated egg scare

Britain's Food Standards Agency on Thursday said about 700,000 eggs likely contaminated with the pesticide Fipronil entered the country and have probably already been eaten - far more than officials previously thought.

The detentions and a series of co-ordinated raids in the Netherlands and Belgium marked another escalation in a widening scandal that has seen eggs tainted with Fipronil, which is not permitted for use around food producing animals, stripped from shelves in countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and most recently the UK.

The two men detained during a series of raids are directors of a company that allegedly used Fipronil on egg farms, Dutch prosecutors said in a statement. Some eggs were sent back, while others were used in minced meat and luncheon meat.

Tests meanwhile found "small quantities" of fipronil in eggs sold in Luxembourg supermarket chain Cactus, which had originally come from the Netherlands, the government said.

The scandal has proven to be far-reaching, with poisonous eggs being found in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden.

It was previously reported that Fipronil was introduced by a Dutch company that provided sanitary services to breeders in Belgium and Netherlands, EU's biggest egg producer, who were not aware of the violations.

The decision to withdraw the products was not due to food safety concerns but based on the fact that the pesticide is not authorised for use in food-producing animals.

"Add products prohibited products used in the food industry by greed endangers the food security, and breaks the trust of the consumer", he insists.

A Food Standards Agency spokesman said today: 'Investigations into the Fipronil incident in Europe continue.

The number of egg or egg products imported is very small. "Our advice is that there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs or products containing eggs".

Authorities suspect Belgian company Poultry Vision of producing a fipronil-laced treatment created to kill mites in chickens.

Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda have pulled sandwiches, sandwich fillers, mayonnaise and salads which may contain eggs contaminated with fipronil, an insecticide which can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness. "There was also no evidence that eggs contained fipronil", the spokesperson stressed.

At the time there was no evidence that there were any acute food safety risks involved. Shell eggs were unaffected, she said, because all those eggs were sourced from the UK.

Britain produces 85% of the eggs it consumes but imports nearly two billion annually, the FSA added. About 180 poultry farms in the Netherlands have been temporarily shut while investigations are held.

If taken in significant quantities, fipronil can have unsafe effects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.


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