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Millions of Dutch eggs destroyed in growing insecticide scandal

The Hague, Netherlands | AFP | Supermarkets in the Netherlands and Germany were Thursday removing millions of eggs from their shelves believed to have been contaminated by a toxic insecticide in a widening food scandal.

Amid fears the Dutch poultry industry could be facing huge financial losses, German officials said late Thursday they believed three million tainted eggs had been made their way into the country and been sold.

After shuttering 180 businesses earlier in the week, the Dutch food authority (NVWA) said following tests that 138 poultry farms — about a fifth of all such concerns in the country — would remain closed, with one batch of eggs posing “an acute danger to public health”.

Eggs from another 59 farms contained high enough levels of the insecticide, fipronil, that the food authority warned they should not be eaten by children.

“Those businesses whose egg codes have been printed on the website will remain closed,” the NVWA said, publishing a list of 138 codes printed on the sides of the eggs, which identify which farm they have come from.

According to Dutch media, some 10 billion eggs were produced in the country last year by about 1,000 poultry farms, with many of them going across the border into Germany.

– Scramble in Germany –

The German agricultural ministry said “at least three million contaminated eggs” had been delivered from the Netherlands to Germany in recent weeks, most of which had been sold.

“Germany has been worse affected” than initially thought, admitted German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt after holding a “crisis teleconference” Thursday with his counterparts in German states.

Manufactured by Germany’s BASF among other companies, fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks.

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