Tainted Eggs Prompt Scare in Europe

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

In large quantities, the insecticide is considered "moderately hazardous" by the World Health Organization, and can have risky effects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands. The European Commission is following the case very closely as issues of public health are at stake, said spokesman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen.

Food Standards Agency has said the risk to public health "is very low".

Around 85% of eggs consumed in Britain are home-produced.

"We have known since early June there was potentially a problem with fipronil in the poultry sector", Belgium's food safety agency spokeswoman Katrien Stragier told the BBC.

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

Millions of chickens could be culled in the Netherlands over fears of insecticide-tainted eggs, an industry body said as Belgium vowed full transparency today about why it kept the scandal secret.

Photo Farm workers discarded eggs in Onstwedde, the Netherlands, last week after concern about insecticide contamination.

"Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves".

Discount supermarket chain Aldi, which has more than 4,000 stores in Germany, said on Friday it was pulling all eggs from store shelves in the country as a precaution after a scare over the possible contamination of eggs from the Netherlands.

Dutch and Belgian media reports that the substance containing the insecticide was supplied to Chickfriend by a Belgian firm have not been confirmed.

About 180 poultry farms in the Netherlands have also been temporarily shut in recent days while investigations are held.

Fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks.

European Union bodies immediately notified food safety authorities in Britain, France, Sweden and Switzerland after it emerged that eggs contaminated with the insecticide may have entered their territories.

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

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