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EU calls emergency egg contamination summit

11 August 2017 National News


The European Commission has called for an emergency summit to deal with the fallout of the contaminated eggs scare.

Millions of eggs have been recalled across Europe after traces of a moderately toxic insecticide, fipronil, was found in batches from Dutch farms.

About 700,000 eggs from the farms affected by the insecticide are – far more than the 21,000 first estimated.

EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said he wanted the summit to be held by the end of September.

“I proposed to hold a high-level meeting gathering the ministers concerned as well as the representatives of the food safety agencies in all member states involved as soon as we have all the facts available,” he said in a statement.

Video: 700,000 potentially contaminated eggs have been sent to the UK

He also called for countries in Europe to work together to learn from the problem amid raised tensions between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany over who was at fault.

“Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this,” Mr Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian commissioner, said.

“We need to work together to draw lessons learnt and move forward instead of losing energy on finger pointing.”

Several UK products, including salads sold at Sainbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda, have been removed following the contamination scare.

There are concerns that many of the contaminated eggs will already have entered the food chain through processed foods that use eggs, such as biscuits and cakes.

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GV of egg production in Europe

Image: Britain imports approximately two billion eggs each year

Fipronil is widely used to treat pets for ticks and flees but its use in any part of the food chain, for example to clean out barns, is forbidden.

It is moderately toxic and can cause organ damage in humans, but a large number of contaminated eggs would need to be eaten for any negative health effects to be observed.

The Food Standards Agency says it is “very unlikely” that the eggs posed a risk to public health.

Two directors of the company at the centre of the scandal were arrested on Thursday by Dutch authorities.

Prosecutors said they are suspected of threatening public health and possession of a prohibited pesticide.


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