Tainted eggs confirmed outside EU

A view of eggs at a poultry farm in the Netherlands.- EPA

A view of eggs at a poultry farm in the Netherlands.- EPA

"The aim is to draw the relevant lessons and discuss the ways to continuously improve the effectiveness of the European Union system to deal with food fraud", Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said. European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that "this is not, let's be clear, a crisis meeting" and it is being held next month to get "distance to the events".

She said the EU's "priority remains to manage the situation, to continue to coordinate and to reassure our citizens".

The non-EU country Switzerland was also affected. Belgium earlier this week accused the Netherlands of knowing about the fipronil eggs since November 2016 and failing to notify other countries, a charge the Dutch have denied.

Farms had been shut down in four countries - Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and France - where authorities have confirmed the illegal use of the substance to treat poultry farms, Rosario said.

He named 13 other countries that have received products from affected farms.

Nearly all lab tests show that only very low levels of Fipronil - seven to 10 times lower than the maximum permitted - have been detected in eggs from the treated chickens, although one test in Belgium was above the European limit.

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The EU countries known to be affected by the scandal are Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Britain said it was very unlikely that there was a risk to public health. Hong Kong reported finding eggs from The Netherlands contaminated with fipronil, the commission said, without giving further details. But the German government says more than 10 million eggs may have been distributed in the country alone.

French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said that since April the country had sold almost 250,000 contaminated eggs, imported from Belgium and the Netherlands, but the risk for consumers was "very low" given French eating habits. Eggs, coming mainly from the Netherlands, have been found to contain the substance which is used to kill lice and ticks on animals, and banned by the European Union for use in the food industry.

The Veterinary and Food Administration says samples analyzed in the Netherlands showed traces of Fipronil, but "not at a harmful level".

The agency said Thursday the Danish distributor, Danaeg Products, has been ordered to recall the eggs because "the content is illegal" but "not risky".

The Danish watchdog added that Danaeg Products bought the eggs from an unnamed Belgian subcontractor.

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