Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Tainted Eggs Scandal : Hong Kong, Switzerland, 15 European Union states hit

Tainted Eggs Scandal : Hong Kong, Switzerland, 15 European Union states hit

Originally, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that only around 21,000 eggs were contaminated with Fipronil, which is thought to have entered the United Kingdom from Dutch producers, but this figure has now increased dramatically.

More than 700 thousand infected fipronil (insecticide, potentially unsafe for health) chicken eggs were supplied to Britain from the Netherlands, according to new data, the British Agency on standardization of food products.

More than 700,000 contaminated eggs have been shipped from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom, leading major supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Waitrose to urgently recall stocks of fresh sandwiches, quiche and salads.

A Morrisons spokeswoman yesterday confirmed 100% of their whole eggs were British and none of these eggs had been affected but that at least three of their products containing egg (sandwiches) had been pulled from United Kingdom stores.

But the Food Standards Agency said the risk to the public was low as numerous eggs involved were mixed with other eggs to make sandwich fillings, so will be highly diluted.

Dutch police spokeswoman Marieke van der Molen said: "It relates to two managers at the company that allegedly used the substance (fipronil) at poultry farms". It's banned by the European Union from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption, but it's believed that a disinfectant containing the pesticide was used on some chicken farms in Belgium and the Netherlands. Eggs containing Fipronil residues haven't been sold as fresh eggs in the United Kingdom, but in other European countries they have.

The European Commission says the contamination scare has affected 15 EU countries as well as Switzerland and Hong Kong.

If consumed in large quantities by humans it can damage the kidneys, liver, and thyroid glands.

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The retail giants affected by the scandal put out statements, with a Sainsbury's spokesperson claiming that the safety of products is the store's priority.

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

The British government said the eggs had not been sold individually, but were in processed foods such as sandwich fillings and salads - some of which will have already been eaten, with the rest now being withdrawn from sale.

So far, millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves, mainly throughout central Europe.

The administration said on Friday that the use of Fipronil on food producing animals and facilities in Belgium and the Netherlands is "unacceptable" to the Danish authorities.

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

Fipronil is widely used to treat pets for ticks and fleas but its use in the food chain, for example to clean out barns, is forbidden.

A Belgian company is being put under investigation for creating and supplying an illegal mite-killer containing Fipronil.

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