Eggs recall: 700000 distributed in United Kingdom contaminated with fipronil pesticide

The health crisis of fipronil in eggs has continued

GettyBelgium Agriculture Minister Denis Ducharme said the NVWA knew about the issue in November 2016

The FSA had previously said that just 21,000 contaminated eggs had come to the United Kingdom, but today revised its estimate upwards as the scandal over the use of harmful pesticide in the poultry industry grows. The Dutch trader of fipronil has been heard as a suspect a week after.

Belgian media reports that raids were done at eight addresses, mainly disinfecting companies that use fipronil.

The Dutch food safety authority, NVWA, confirmed to the Ranger that the public prosecutor had begun a criminal investigation into a company involved in treating layers against red mite.

Any potentially-contaminated eggs or egg products still on store shelves are being withdrawn, officials said.

Prosecution service spokesman Marieke van der Molen said raids had been conducted at locations in both countries linked to the company that allegedly used the pesticide, as well as potential suppliers.

Dozens of producers in Belgium and the Netherlands are being investigated for eggs containing Fipronil, which is unsafe to human health though no cases have been reported of people falling sick.

The raids in the Netherlands were carried out as part of a joint action with Belgian authorities.

Around 85% of eggs consumed in Britain are laid in the UK.

The NVWA conceded that it received a tip-off in November a year ago but stressed there was "no evidence" of a food safety risk.

The FSA said the decision to withdraw these products is not due to food safety concerns, but is based on the fact that Fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals. In large quantities, it is considered "moderately toxic" to humans by the world health Organization (WHO), presenting a danger to the kidneys, the liver and the thyroid.

Germany and the Netherlands have also accused Belgium of failing to disclose contamination, even after it began showing up in tests, resulting in later unnecessary recalls, though Brussels says it did not intend to cover up the incident. It is thought to have come from Belgian firm Poultry-Vision which sold a product containing the chemical to Chickfriend in Barneveld to combat lice in chickens.

A spokesperson from Sainsbury's said: The safety of our products is our priority.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves in Germany as well as Belgium and the Netherlands.

The egg scandal comes shortly after another food scandal shocked European consumers. Dutch police arrested two men.

Europol said 65 people had been arrested in Spain, and the main suspect, a Dutch citizen, had been arrested in Belgium.

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