Eggs contaminated with insecticide may have entered UK, EU warns

Eggs contaminated with insecticide may have entered UK, EU warns

A European commission spokeswoman, Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, told reporters in Brussels: "The eggs are blocked".

The body said buyers should look for the British Lion mark to ensure they are getting "safe British eggs", which are around 85% of the eggs eaten annually in the UK.

"The number of eggs involved represents about 0.0001% of the eggs imported into the United Kingdom each year", it said.

"We are working closely with the businesses that have received eggs from affected farms".

The British Egg Industry Council said there was no need for people to "change the way they cook or consume eggs".

Some 300,000 hens from farms where fipronil was found have already been slaughtered and the final total could be as high as one million, one company charged with destroying infected hens told broadcaster NOS.

It is believed the toxic substance was introduced to poultry farms by a Dutch business named Chickfriend brought in to treat red lice, a parasite in chickens.

Belgian and Dutch authorities are investigating how the insecticide came illegally into contact with poultry.

Traces of insecticide fipronil were found in eggs in Belgium and the Netherlands last month, which has led to the temporary shut-down of some poultry farms and to supermarkets halting the sale of eggs from the Netherlands.

Belgium's agriculture minister meanwhile said he had ordered the agency to report by Tuesday on why it failed to notify neighbouring countries until July 20 despite knowing about fipronil contamination since June.

Contamination with the toxic chemical has prompted supermarkets in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to remove millions of eggs from their shelves, including the discount supermarket giant Aldi which announced Friday it was pulling all Dutch eggs from stores in Germany.

Facing pressure from Germany and the Netherlands, Ducarme promised "complete transparency".

Germany has demanded an explanation from Belgium about why the issue was kept covered up.

Fipronil can treat lice and ticks in chickens, but should not be used on food-producing animals because of its toxicity.

It is thought to have been used on chickens in Belgium and could be potentially risky to humans.

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