Contaminated eggs have been distributed in UK

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

Europe insecticide egg crisis not yet spread to France

The scare over contaminated eggs, which began in Belgium, has led supermarkets there and in Germany and the Netherlands to clear shelves of the product as the crisis entered its third week.

Eggs contaminated with the insecticide fipronil were distributed in the United Kingdom after all, it has emerged - despite government assurances last week that the United Kingdom was not affected by the egg contamination scandal that is now rocking Europe.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said she could not comment on the Belgian delay "because it's an ongoing criminal investigation".

The Food Standards Agency said on Monday (7 August) it was "urgently investigating" after identifying "a very small number" of eggs that had made it to the United Kingdom from Dutch farms caught up in the scandal.

The number of eggs involved in the scare represents about 0.0001% of the nearly two billion eggs imported into the United Kingdom each year.

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

Unilever also said its products were not affected by the recall and remained "safe for sale and consumption".

It is believed the toxic substance was introduced to poultry farms by a Dutch business named Chickfriend brought in to treat red lice, a nasty parasite in chickens.

The ministry said no eggs from the farm have been sent to market and that the results of testing there should be known by the end of the week.

Some 300,000 hens from farms where fipronil was found have already been slaughtered and the final total could be as high as one million, one company charged with destroying infected hens told broadcaster NOS.

An LTO spokesman said they "had to be eliminated because of contamination".

The UK's Food Standards Agency say the risk to the public is very low.

Facing pressure from Germany and the Netherlands, Ducarme promised "complete transparency".

Food safety authorities in France, Sweden and Switzerland have also been notified by the EU.

Germany has demanded an explanation from Belgium about why the issue was kept covered up.

"Fipronil is not authorised for use as a veterinary medicine or pesticide around food producing animals".

The substance is absorbed into the skin or feathers of chickens and then passes into the eggs.

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