European Union plans egg scandal talks, next month

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 13, 2017

Eggs or egg products from those producers have reached Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Sweden, as well as Switzerland and Hong Kong outside the EU.

The European Commission (EC) has said a total of 15 EU states besides Switzerland and Hong Kong, are now known to have received egg products contaminated by an insecticide harmful to human health.

France's Agriculture Minister Stéphane Travert said about 250,000 affected eggs had been sold in the country since April, adding that all products containing eggs from contaminated farms would be taken off the shelves.

Stephane Travert said on RMC radio Friday that some 244,000 eggs imported from the Netherlands and Belgium and sold in France were affected by the contamination from pesticide Fipronil.

The European Union says it wants to hold an extraordinary meeting late next month to discuss the egg contamination scandal.

"We need to work together to draw the necessary lessons and move forward instead". Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but is banned by the European Union from use in the food industry. The insecticide can damage the kidneys, the liver and thyroid glands if eaten in large quantities.

Several producers in the Netherlands and Belgium are under investigation after eggs there were found to have been treated with a product containing pesticide Fipronil. However Belgium itself has been forced to admit that it knew about fipronil in eggs back in June but kept it secret for almost two months because of a criminal investigation.

A Belgian company, Poultry Vision, has said it provided Chickfriend with the chemical.

Experts say the health risk from eating fipronil is low.

"We were well aware of a report of the presence of fipronil in the pens of egg-laying hens in November 2016, but there was no indication at the time that fipronil itself was found in the eggs", said Schippers. Denmark said on August 10 it had found a haul of 20 tons of tainted eggs, imported from Belgium.

Products in United Kingdom supermarkets were removed on Thursday after it emerged that the initial Food Standards Agency claim that 21,000 contaminated eggs had hit the United Kingdom was a gross underestimate. The FSA now says the figure is more like 700,000. The food scare is one of the biggest to hit Europe since the 2013 horsemeat scandal when equine meat was falsely labelled and mis-sold.

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