Eggs containing pesticides found in 17 countries


Experts say the insecticide can damage people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands if eaten in large quantities.

France has also confirmed one farm in the Nord-Pas de Calais region was found to have used Fipronil, and is now blocked from selling eggs.

The EU countries which received the contaminated eggs included UK, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Denmark.

With concern going global, the commission said it had now called a meeting of ministers and food safety chiefs from affected European Union countries, setting a provisional date of September 26. However, food standards agencies played down the risks for anyone who already had the tainted eggs. According to officials, it may have been added to disinfectant in some chicken farms.

Nearly all lab tests show that only very low levels of Fipronil - seven to 10 times lower than the maximum permitted - have been detected in eggs from the treated chickens, although one test in Belgium was above the European limit.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe and dozens of poultry farms closed since the discovery of fipronil, which can be harmful to humans, was made public on August 1. Similar actions are underway in Britain where authorities said about 700,000 eggs had been sent there from potentially contaminated Dutch farms, up from an earlier estimate of 21,000. The EU bans the use of fipronil in the food industry.

Processed foods containing eggs, including sandwiches and salads, have been recalled by leading supermarkets there.

The Foods Standards Agency said 700,000 eggs had been sent to the United Kingdom from potentially contaminated Dutch farms. Ministers and regulators are gathering on September 26 to discuss ways to prevent similar scandals in the future.