Bulgaria and Romania are among some 20 countries in Europe where contaminated eggs from Germany and the Netherlands found their way onto supermarket shelves last week. The eggs were contaminated with the insecticide fipronil, a highly toxic substance used against fleas, ticks, and cockroaches, but illegal for use in food manufacturing in many European countries.
EU authorities confirmed in August that fipronil-contaminated eggs had been discovered in several European countries and acted quickly to remove them from supermarkets and warehouses, shutting down over 200 egg-producing farms in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France in the process. The European Commission is set to hold a special meeting with health ministers and regulators on September 26 regarding the ongoing scandal and food safety measures involved.
While Dutch farmers have ensured authorities and consumers that the contamination is over, new cases of contaminated eggs continue to be reported almost daily on the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed[en]. The latest reports of fipronil-contaminated eggs come from Italy and Poland, and seem to be locally produced eggs.
According to Bulgarian news site dnevnik.bg, Bulgarian authorities reported on September 5 that almost 1500 kilograms of the contaminated eggs imported from Germany had been seized and had not reached supermarkets. Other products containing eggs, such as mayonnaise and ice cream were also tested for the toxin, but results were negative.
In Romania, the scandal has taken on an entirely new shade of trouble, as contaminated eggs found in Italy in August had been imported from Romania and the Dutch poultry farmers union has recently claimed that the contamination that has been plaguing European egg farms originated in Romania.
U.K. media reported on September 8 that, while the country was not among those hard hit by the contaminated eggs, the Food Standards Agency had also issued a recall of 26 other products related to eggs. The FSA emphasized that the were not being recalled “due to food safety concerns” but because the use of fipronil in the production of food items is illegal.