Thousands of 'contaminated' Dutch eggs hit United Kingdom shelves

Aldi stores in Germany stop selling eggs amid Dutch food safety scare

In large quantities, the insecticide is considered "moderately hazardous", according to the World Health Organisation, and can be risky to people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

"It's now up to the Swedish, Swiss, French and to the United Kingdom to check because all these eggs are traceable and trackable", Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told reporters.

Dutch food safety watchdog NVWA published a list this week of the serial numbers of eggs that were deemed unsafe, with one specific range of eggs labeled as an acute health hazard because of possible contamination with the insecticide fipronil.

"What I can say is that the farms are identified, the eggs are blocked, the contaminated eggs are traced and withdrawn from the market, and the situation is under control", she said.

Belgium meanwhile vowed full transparency about why it kept the scandal secret despite originally learning in June about the problem involving fipronil, a substance potentially unsafe to humans.

But it says this is a very small proportion of the 1.8 billion eggs the United Kingdom imports each year.

In the dark and silent shed of a small Dutch poultry farm, 1.8 million eggs closely packed together wait to be destroyed.

An LTO spokesman said late Sunday that they "had to be eliminated because of contamination".

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

GERMAN Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt on Saturday expressed concern about news that Belgian authorities first learned about the possible contamination of eggs with an insecticide in June, a month before the issue became public.

Belgian officials admitted on Saturday they had kept the problem under wraps and failed to trigger the EU's worldwide food safety alert system, but said it was because of a fraud probe.

The contaminated egg scandal in the Netherlands has led to empty shelves in the supermarkets and it will be at least until the end of the week before supplies are back to normal, according to food retail umbrella group CBL.

EurActiv reports that manufactured by Germany's BASF among other companies, fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks.

Belgian and Dutch authorities are now investigating how the insecticide came into illegal contact with egg-laying chickens.

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

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