700000 'contaminated' eggs sold to United Kingdom from Dutch farms

Germany has imported 5 billion eggs over the a year ago from the Netherlands, where Europe's escalating insecticide-tainted egg scandal originated last week.

It is believed that the insecticide got into the food chain when it was illegally added to a product used to treat poultry for lice, fleas and ticks.

A joint Dutch-Belgian task force conducted raids at eight poultry farms in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch prosecution service.

The scandal has proven to be far-reaching, with poisonous eggs being found in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden.

The substance can damage people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands if eaten in large quantities. However, food standards agencies played down the risks for anyone who already had the tainted eggs.

The FSA stressed that the number of eggs that have come to Britain represents 0.007% of the eggs consumed in the United Kingdom every year, making it "very unlikely that there is any risk to public health from consuming these foods".

Britain's food safety watchdog says far more eggs from affected farms have been imported than previously thought.

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The arrested suspects were directors at Dutch company Chickfriend, which is at the center of the scandal.

Belgium and the Netherlands have for the past two weeks struggled to account for their failure to stop fipronil - a toxic insecticide banned for use on farm animals - entering barn eggs.

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

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: "I'm confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do".

British egg processors have criticised the buying policies of the UK's major supermarkets after the FSA released the list of withdrawn products.

Addressing complaints about imported eggs being used in its products, a Waitrose spokesperson claimed the supermarket uses the imported items "sometimes" when it is unable to source UK-produced ones.

As reported on Thursday there are millions of contaminated eggs being pulled off the shelves in Germany and now reports of 20 tonnes of such eggs being sold to Denmark have come in. However, a Belgian supplier that is believed to have colluded with the Dutch company, is also under investigation.

  • Delia Davidson