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Belgium drawn in to Fipronil tainted egg scandal

Concern is growing over the breadth of the fipronil scandal in Europe after Belgian authorities admitted test results revealed a level that would pose a risk to human health.

While both Germany and the Netherlands have expressed concerns over the levels of fipronil in eggs, Belgium had until Tuesday declared there to be no public risk from the toxic insecticide, used as a detergent for killing chicken mites.

But the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) announced that recent tests had revealed a level of 0.92mg/kg, which is above the authorised European safety level of 0.72mg/kg.

This is considerably different from earlier tests which had found much lower levels of 0.076mg/kg.

In a statement AFSCA said: “AFSCA and its laboratories are currently conducting research in order to explain the difference in results and the agency hopes to receive clarifications at the soonest possible moment.”

Meanwhile, German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt said the contamination of millions of eggs was “criminal” but said there should not now be any contaminated eggs left on store shelves in the country.

Reuters reported that EU filings show that batches of possibly contaminated eggs from the Netherlands and Germany had also been shipped to Sweden, Switzerland, France and the UK.

The French authorities said contaminated eggs from the Netherlands and Belgium had been found at five food production sites in France. All products still present at the factories have been barred from sale.

The World Health Organisation classified fiprinol as “moderately hazardous”. If ingested, symptoms can include vomiting, abdominal pain and seizures.

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