Eggs containing pesticides found in 17 countries

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Fifteen countries have been affected by the widening scandal involving eggs contaminated with the insecticide fipronil, the European Commission says.

The commission also announced that it was planning to convene an European Union ministerial meeting on September 26 to "draw relevant lessons" from the scandal. It will take place on 26 September.

The evidence of contamination emerged this month when Aldi pulled products off the shelves after Fipronil - an insecticide banned for use on farm animals because of its danger to human health - was detected in French, Belgian and Dutch poultry farms.

The use of the chemical, called fipronil, appears to have originated in Belgium and the Netherlands.

"In any crisis, mistakes are made". It is a joint action by the Dutch and Belgian authorities.

Supermarkets in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have withdrawn millions of eggs from sale. A farm in the north of France is also blocked.

The EU countries that have received the eggs are the UK, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Denmark - along with non-EU Switzerland, and Hong Kong.

That includes six Arab nations, three European countries and one East Asian nation.

The investigation began in mid-July after Fipronil was found in quantities of Dutch exported eggs in many European countries.

The head of the inspection services, sanitary Polish has specified that the Polish authorities had been prevented thanks to an early warning system of the EU.

Reuters explained that fipronil is a popular insecticide used to treat pets for fleas and ticks, but it is forbidden for use in the food chain.

Two persons have been arrested in the Netherlands over the ongoing contaminated eggs scandal, the Dutch public prosecutor stated on Thursday. According to the media Dutch, it is the company ChickFriend, widely challenged by the affected farmers. Police also searched homes in nearby Bergen op Zoom and Uden as well as a storage shed in Ede and two undisclosed locations.

Dutch and Belgian authorities are carrying out raids as part of a criminal investigation into the illegal use of pesticide at poultry farms.

The company has been quarantined since July 18, Mr Ducarme said. The company is identified by the press as the distributor of health products for livestock Poultry-Vision, the origin of the scandal with ChickFriend. Over in Denmark, the country's food administration says almost 20 tons of insecticide-tainted eggs have been sold nationwide, but it is playing down the risk to public health.

The UK Food Standards Agency said on Thursday that it believes more eggs have been contaminated than they previously thought, estimating that number at 700,000.

The EU's executive Commission said on Friday that contaminated eggs have been found at producers in four countries; Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

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