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Contaminated eggs scandal hit 15 EU states, besides Switzerland, Hong Kong: EC

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12 August 2017

The European Commission (EC) has said a total of 15 EU states besides Switzerland and Hong Kong, are now known to have received egg products contaminated by an insecticide harmful to human health.

A spokeswoman in Brussels said the situation was ''evolving by the day'', as criminal investigators continued to hold two men arrested for fraud after a series of raids in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The affected EU countries include Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark.

Products in UK supermarkets were removed on Thursday after it emerged that the initial Food Standards Agency claim that 21,000 contaminated eggs had hit the UK was a gross underestimate. According to the FSA the figure is more like 700,000.

Following the arrests of the two directors of a Dutch firm, Chickfriend, which is believed to have supplied the banned anti-lice agent, Fipronil,  to farmers, a third man, whose home was raided by investigators, spoke to Dutch media on Friday to insist upon his innocence.

Fipronil is used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but is banned by the EU from use in the food industry.

According to Nick Hermens, 28, he had snapped links with the implicated company's owners in February 2016 over concerns about the legality of their business, although his claims could not be verified.

The issue has triggered a row between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, the three countries at the centre of the crisis, about how long they knew about the problem.

"Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this," Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for health and food safety, told AFP as he announced the meeting.

"We need to work together to draw the necessary lessons and move forward instead."





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