Germany Moves to Stop Eggs Contaminated by Insecticide

W300

Germany on Thursday moved to block the distribution of hundreds of thousands of eggs mainly from the Netherlands contaminated by a toxic insecticide outlawed from use in the production of food.

Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt called a "crisis teleconference" with his counterparts in German states where the insecticide, fipronil, was detected in eggs.

Schmidt was to hold a news conference after the talks.

Several supermarket chains have pulled the products from their shelves, and consumers have been encouraged to check stickers on any cartons they have bought against a contamination list published online.

Dutch officials said Tuesday that about 180 poultry farms had been closed across The Netherlands after fipronil was found in samples taken from eggs, droppings and meat.

About one million eggs being transported to Germany were also recalled from the border with The Netherlands, the Dutch food authority NVWA added.

In large quantities, fipronil, is considered to be "moderately hazardous" according to the World Health Organization, and can have dangerous affects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

The insecticide, manufactured by Germany's BASF among other companies, is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks. 

But it is banned from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption such as chickens.

It is believed the substance was introduced by a Dutch business, named Chickfriend, which was called in to treat red lice, a nasty parasite in chickens.