Egg insecticide scandal may have already spread to seven countries

German supermarket chain removes eggs from shelves amid pesticide scare

German supermarket chain removes eggs from shelves amid pesticide scare

Supermarkets in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland have pulled millions of eggs from the shelves after fipronil, a substance potentially risky to humans, was found in them.

She said the move was purely precautionary and did not mean that eggs contaminated with fipronil had actually entered those countries.

"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.

It is thought disinfectant used in products on chicken farms is to blame for a scare that has seen millions of eggs taken off shelves in Germany and the Netherlands and also implicated Belgian farms.

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

"As there have been reports from more and more (German) federal states about the discovery of fipronil in eggs, Aldi South and Aldi North have chose to remove all eggs from sale across the country", the two operators of Aldi supermarkets said in a joint statement.

The French government said 13 batches of Dutch eggs contaminated with fipronil have been found at two food-processing factories in central-western France.

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The FSA says it is urgently investigating and indications so far are that the eggs are no longer on sale.

After Belgium failed to notify the European Union executive immediately on an ongoing investigation to a Belgian company for creating an illegal mite-killer containing fipronil, delayed to break the news to the Berlaymont.

A Dutch farming organisation has said that several million hens may need to be culled at 150 companies in the country, with 300,000 having already been killed.

Dutch authorities have shuttered 138 poultry farms - about a fifth of those across the country - and warned that eggs from another 59 farms contained high enough levels of fipronil that they should not be eaten by children.

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

Fipronil can treat lice and ticks in chickens, but should not be used on food-producing animals because of its toxicity.