Contaminated eggs scandal grows as United Kingdom supermarkets withdraw products

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The egg scandal started in Belgium which is the source of the fipronil found in Dutch eggs. Long-term exposure to great quantities can cause thyroid, liver and kidney damage, and even lead to seizures.

France has ordered a national investigation into all egg-product manufacturers in the wake of Europe's insecticide-tainted egg scandal, China's Xinhua news agency reported French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert as saying on Wednesday.

The FSA said it had no evidence that eggs laid in the United Kingdom are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately here.

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

The decision to withdraw the products was not due to food safety concerns but based on the fact that the pesticide is not authorised for use in food-producing animals.

The eggs came from farms in the Netherlands and were used as one ingredient in processed foods, such as sandwich fillings.

But experts say the current food safety risk is not acute.

The joint action comes a day after Belgium accused the Netherlands of knowing about the problem involving fipronil in eggs since November past year, but failing to inform them until July.

Dutch authorities arrested two men Thursday on suspicion of involvement in the illegal use of the pesticide Fipronil in poultry farms.

The European police agency, Europol, said 66 people had been arrested for trading horsemeat unfit for human consumption last month.

In a statement, the prosecutors said investigators were also focused on a Belgian supplier, and another Dutch company "that colluded with the Belgian supplier".

"The Veterinary and Food Administration is following the issue closely, and can not exclude that further examination may uncover more imports of fipronil-tainted eggs or egg products to Denmark", it said.

A major product recall in now underway in the United Kingdom off the back of the British Food Standards Agency's announcement about the levels of contamination there.

However, ChickFriend, a Dutch company, is under investigation for buying the product and treating poultry farms in both Belgium and the Netherlands, according to numerous media reports. Warning systemBEIC chief executive Mark Williams said in the circular: "As you may be aware, almost 200 farms in the Netherlands have had restrictions imposed on them so they are not permitted to move eggs, manure and/or birds due to the use of DEGA-16".

The product was imported from Germany but had not been sold to consumers, food safety officials said.

It is thought that fipronil was added to an allowable treatment for red mites. Jumbo, the second biggest Dutch supermarket group has also removed some types of eggs from its stores.

Dutch health authorities have denied that they knew about the issue in November.

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