Published: Tue, August 08, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Millions of chickens face cull across Europe over insecticide-tainted eggs scandal

Millions of chickens face cull across Europe over insecticide-tainted eggs scandal

Supermarkets in the Netherlands and Germany were the first to pull eggs from their supermarket shelves this week, after it emerged that several million Dutch eggs were suspected of containing traces of fipronil.

"We have identified that a very small number of eggs have been distributed to the United Kingdom from the farms affected", said an FSA spokesman.

A very small number of eggs contaminated with a toxic insecticide reached the United Kingdom earlier this year.

Belgium now has production blocked from 51 farms - a quarter of those nationwide - with fipronil found at 21 farms, although levels were ten times below the maximum European Union limit, the country's food safety authority AFSCA said.

The issue has drawn widespread attention in Germany and discount supermarket chain Aldi on Friday said it was withdrawing all eggs from sale at its more than 4,000 stores in Germany as a precaution. "The aim is to share the information so that everybody knows that it's up to the Swedish, Swiss and French authorities to check, because all these eggs are traceable", explained the spokeswoman.

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

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Supermarkets in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland have pulled millions of eggs from the shelves after fipronil, a substance potentially risky to humans, was found in them.

Supermarket giant Aldi said it was a "purely precautionary" measure and added that eggs sold in its United Kingdom stores were produced in Britain.

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

Fipronil is an insecticide used to combat insects such as fleas, lice, ticks, cockroaches and mites.

The poultry was then sold to about 180 Dutch farms, which have all had their egg sales stopped temporarily.

The Dutch food authority (NVWA) also shuttered 138 poultry farms - about a fifth of those in the country - and warned that eggs from another 59 farms contained high enough levels of fipronil that it warned they should not be eaten by children.

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