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EU Calls a Meeting of Ministers Over Egg Contamination

Eggs are kept fresh in a laboratory of the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office in Krefeld, Germany, Aug. 7, 2017. Dutch investigators detained two men Thursday who are suspected of being involved in the illegal use of pesticide at poultry farms that sparked a massive food safety scare in several European countries.

The European Commissioner in charge of food safety called Friday for an emergency meeting of ministers to discuss eggs contamination, appealing for an end to finger-pointing among member states over the scandal.

“Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this,” EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis from Lithuania said.

Andriukaitis said he hoped to convene a meeting before the end of September of the ministers and representatives of various national food safety agencies.

Millions of eggs recalled

Millions of eggs and egg-based products have been pulled from European supermarket shelves in at least 11 countries, since the scandal went public Aug. 1. So far, no one has reported falling sick from the tainted eggs.

Some national regulators have voiced concern that eggs contaminated with the insecticide Fipronil, which can harm the kidneys, liver and thyroid glands, have entered the food chain, mainly through processed products such as biscuits and cakes.

Meanwhile, police in the Netherlands arrested two people Thursday for allegedly using a banned pesticide as the investigation of contaminated eggs continues.

Belgian and Dutch authorities conducted raids at a number of poultry farms Thursday, but authorities did not provide details about which companies were targeted.

Eggs found across Europe

British food safety authorities believe around 700,000 contaminated eggs have been imported into the country, and the Food Standards Agency has issued a list of products in which the eggs could be found.

Danish authorities said 20 tons of contaminated eggs had been sold in Denmark, but cautioned that the eggs posed no risk to humans.

Smaller numbers of eggs were reported in Luxembourg and Slovakia, but authorities in those countries either destroyed the products containing the eggs or sent them back to their producers.

Authorities in Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and France also reported having found contaminated eggs.

With the contaminated eggs starting to surface in countries across Europe, Dutch and Belgian officials are facing growing questions about how the scandal started and whether the public has been kept fully aware.