Two detained in Dutch tainted eggs investigation

The number of eggs implicated in a contamination scare in Holland is believed to be around 700,000 not 21,000

The chemical has been found in eggs in Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and France, while Britain has reported that 700,000 eggs distributed across the United Kingdom have been implicated in the contamination scare.

Around 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms implicated in the Fipronil contamination scare have been distributed to Britain, rather than the 21,000 first estimated, the watchdog said.

Products will be withdrawn due to the chemical's unauthorized status, rather than a specific safety concern.

Foods containing egg have been recalled from supermarkets, although some of the affected eggs may have already made their way into the food chain.

Fipronil, which is found in eggs, is used to destroy fleas, lice, ticks and cockroaches.

"The number of egg products imported is very small".

Smaller numbers of eggs were reported in Luxembourg and Slovakia, but authorities in those countries either destroyed the products containing the eggs or sent them back to their producers.

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The Food Standards Agency said it had found evidence that some 700,000 eggs had been imported over the period it is known fipronil was being used on Dutch poultry farms, Europe's biggest exporter of eggs. This insecticide if consumed in high quantities can cause damage to kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

The FSAI said Fipronil is an insecticide which is not permitted for use around food producing animals, while noting that traceability on the eggs from the Netherlands contaminated with Fipronil was continuing.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said Friday about 250,000 potentially tainted eggs have been removed from grocery shelves in her country since April.

The tests showed that the eggs on these poultry farms was 0.92 mg/kg which is above the safety level set by European health authorities at 0.72 mg/kg.

In a statement, the FSA said: "While in some European countries eggs containing Fipronil residues have been sold as fresh eggs, in the United Kingdom this is not the case".

Eggs, coming mainly from the Netherlands, were found to contain fipronil, a substance used to kill lice and ticks on animals that is banned by the European Union for use in the food industry.

"Shell eggs on sale to consumers are not affected and the FSA says that there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs", it said.

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