Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Irish authorities allay fears as it emerges Belgium kept contaminated eggs probe secret for several weeks

FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

The Irish food safety authority has moved to allay fears as details of a food safety scandal concerning contaminated eggs continues in a host of European countries.

Traces of insecticide fipronil were found in eggs in Belgium and the Netherlands last month, which has led to the temporary shut-down of some poultry farms and to supermarkets halting the sale of Dutch eggs.

Investigators suspect the chemical may have gotten into eggs through contaminated detergent against mites that is used to clean barns.

Yesterday, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has said is aware that traces of Fipronil have been found in eggs in other EU countries, however there is no indication of distribution of the implicated products to the Republic of Ireland. 

Fipronil is an insecticide used to combat insects such as fleas, lice, ticks, cockroaches and mites.  It is not permitted for use on food-producing animals (livestock).

The FSAI is continuing to follow this issue.

Today it emerged, Belgian authorities have admitted they began investigating pesticide contamination in eggs in early June - several weeks before the public was made aware of a food safety scare affecting several European countries.

Supermarkets have pulled millions of eggs from shelves after pesticide Fipronil was found in Dutch and Belgian poultry farms.

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Kathy Brison, of the Belgian food safety agency, said on Sunday that a Belgian farm alerted authorities to a possible contamination in June, and they began investigating and alerted Belgian prosecutors.

German authorities are frustrated by the apparent delay in informing European neighbours.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt plans to speak to his Belgian counterpart about the issue on Monday.

Ms Brison said Belgian authorities thought it was an isolated incident and did not realise the scale of the problem until late July.

Last week, discount supermarket chain Aldi is withdrawing all eggs from sale at its more than 4,000 stores in Germany as a precaution, as the scare over the possible contamination of eggs with insecticide spreads.

Press Association

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