Supermarkets Remove Eggs From Shelves Amid Contamination Panic

Supermarkets Remove Eggs From Shelves Amid Contamination Panic

No fipronil-contaminated eggs have made it to consumers' plates in Italy, the Italian Health Ministry said last night.

Numerous affected eggs will have already passed through the food chain before anyone was aware of the scandal.

The minister, Denis Ducarme, said a report had confirmed Dutch eggs had tested positive for the potentially unsafe pesticide. Similarly, in early July, a small quantity of liquid pasteurised egg (with a "use-by" date of July 20) was supplied to a number of food businesses for use in bakery products.

Supermarkets in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have also withdrawn millions of eggs from sale after concerns about contamination.

The owner said his Spanish eggs had already been checked for chemicals, but that the United States and Hong Kong offerings may be "safer".

The insecticide is a common ingredient in anti-lice treatments, but it is banned from being used on animals destined for human consumption.

The UK's Food Standards Agency said the number of contaminated eggs estimated to have reached the UK was far higher than the 21,000 first supposed, and that egg salads from Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda, and sandwiches from Waitrose and Morrisons had been withdrawn.

Close to 700,000 eggs in the United Kingdom are believed to have been contaminated.

The health commissioner of the European Union has called for an emergency summit over millions of potentially pesticide-tainted eggs in at least 15 member nations - which have spawned criminal investigations and led to the arrests of two people.

The Netherlands is one of the largest exporters of chicken eggs in the world.

The two men detained during a series of raids are directors of a company that allegedly used Fipronil on egg farms, Dutch prosecutors said in a statement.

The Belgian searches took place at eight sites in the Flanders region of Belgium, near the border with the Netherlands, the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper reported.

More than 700,000 contaminated eggs have been shipped from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom, leading major supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Waitrose to urgently recall stocks of fresh sandwiches, quiche and salads.

According to the Agency, in the United Kingdom infected mainly semi-finished products and processed products, where eggs are only one of many ingredients.