French health inspectors have found one poultry farm with eggs tainted by the insecticide fipronil out of 2,900 which have been checked in the wake of the Europe-wide scandal, France's farm minister said yesterday.
"There was one farm where the eggs were contaminated ... and the owner came forward on his own," Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert told the Europe 1 radio station.
"All the (other) cases of contamination found in France were imported from our neighbours Belgium and the Netherlands," he added. Eggs tainted by the insecticide mostly originate from farms in those two countries but have since been found in 45 nations worldwide, the European health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitisa said last week. Possible misuse of the insecticide has been reported from seven farms in Germany, 10 in Italy and two in Hungary. The European Commission said last week that the illegal use of fipronil started as far back as September 2016. The problem is believed to stem from a substance used by a Dutch company, Chickfriend, which farmers in the Netherlands and Belgium say they hired to treat their chickens. EU ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on September 26 to discuss how to improve food safety and prevent fraud in light of the scandal. The EU insists there is no threat to humans, but the World Health Organization says that when eaten in large quantities fipronil can harm people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.