Over 90,000 Fipronil-Contaminated Eggs Confiscated in Italy

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Since early August, millions of chicken eggs in Italy have been recalled from the shelves of European stores over fears that they might have been contaminated with fipronil, according to the statement of local police.

ROME (Sputnik) — Over 90,000 eggs and approximately 30,000 hens in Italy were seized Wednesday due to detection of the fipronil insecticide, local police said.

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Gen. Adelmo Lusi, the head of NAS, a commodities and health protection unit of Italian police, announced at a news conference that sequestration measures had been ordered on three farms and an egg packing center located in Viterbo and Ancona in central Italy. In total, 91,000 eggs were recalled, including 59,000 eggs for sale in stores and 32,000 eggs meant for feed for animals.

Since early August, millions of chicken eggs have been recalled from the shelves of European stores over fears that they might have been contaminated with fipronil. Eggs contaminated with the insecticide have been detected in at least 15 EU member states, as well as in Switzerland, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide used to treat lice, fleas and ticks, and in large quantities, it can cause liver, kidney and thyroid gland damage. The chemical is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a moderately hazardous substance.

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Belgium became the first country to become aware of eggs which tested positive for the fipronil insecticide on June 2, and informed the European Commission about the situation in late July. This delay, which was confirmed to be due to a fraud investigation, sparked harsh criticism of Belgian authorities. Belgian Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme, in response, stated that Dutch authorities were aware of fipronil-contaminated eggs as early as November 2016 and blamed them for the failure to warn the EU countries of the contamination.

On September 26, the European Commission will convene a meeting of relevant ministers and representatives of national supervisory bodies to discuss the egg situation. The meeting will bring together the countries where contaminated eggs have been found, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

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