Insecticide-contaminated eggs now in 17 countries

  • 12/08/2017

A total of 17 countries, including Hong Kong, have been affected by the widening scandal in Europe involving eggs contaminated with the insecticide fipronil.

Contaminated eggs have been distributed to European Union members Sweden, France, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark, said Daniel Rosario, a spokesman for the European Commission says.

Two non-EU countries, Switzerland and Hong Kong, have also received contaminated products originating from affected poultry farms in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France that have been treated with fipronil.

The commission said it was planning to convene an EU ministerial meeting on September 26 to "draw relevant lessons" from the scandal.

Meanwhile, French authorities said that almost a quarter of a million contaminated eggs were imported to France between April and July, noting there are no health concerns.

A batch of 196,000 contaminated Belgian eggs was put on sale between April and May and consumed "without any observed health impact", the French Agriculture Ministry said.

Another batch of 48,000 contaminated eggs from the Netherlands were imported in July. Remaining eggs from that batch were withdrawn from sale after the scandal over the use of the product broke.

Fipronil is a common ingredient in veterinary products for getting rid of fleas, lice and ticks in animals. It is banned from use on animals destined for human consumption. It can cause damage to the liver, thyroid glands and kidneys if consumed in large quantities.

The Agriculture Ministry said that the low levels of fipronil in the contaminated eggs, taking into consideration French dietary habits, meant that the risk to human health was very minor.