Dutch egg scandal hits 17 nations around the world

Illustrative stock

The UK's food watchdog says about 700 thousand contaminated eggs were imported from the Netherlands, up from an earlier estimate of 21 thousand.

The FSA meanwhile said investigations into the incident suggested it was "very unlikely" that the eggs posed a risk to public health as it released a list of processed products withdrawn in the United Kingdom "to ensure that consumers are protected".

The contaminated eggs originate from around 180 farms in the Netherlands that bought poultry from a supplier which used an illegal insecticide to treat red mite in chickens.

The Korea Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will analyze the products over the next three months and look for signs of contamination with the insecticide Fipronil.

Eggs contaminated with insecticide fipronil have been found across 15 European Union countries as well as Hong Kong and Switzerland, sparking a row over how long Belgian and Dutch authorities have known about the contamination. Fipronil can be hazardous to humans' kidneys, liver and thyroid glands, according to the World Health Organization, but only if consumed in large quantities.

The scandal has spread across eight European countries so far with authorities ordering the destruction of millions of eggs and supermarkets in several nations removing eggs from their shelves.

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FSA chairman Heather Hancock said: "I'm confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do".

In the Netherlands, the country's food safety regulator said two men who are directors of the firm, Chickfriend, were arrested today after raids in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Prosecutors said they are suspected of threatening public health and possession of a prohibited pesticide.

"The levels of actual contamination do not pose any risks for consumers", it said, citing an investigation by France's health and safety agency that pointed to "very low" risks.

Fipronil is used to prevent fleas, ticks and lice infestations but is banned from use in food-producing animals.

In Germany and Holland, supermarkets Aldi and Lidl have already taken millions of eggs off their shelves, in what Aldi said was a "purely precautionary" measure.

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