Millions of potentially infected eggs have been pulled from European supermarket shelves amid an investigation into the use of an illegal “toxic” pesticide.
Dutch police have arrested two suspects after a scare over use of the insecticide fiproni, according to the Dutch prosecution service.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of hens may be culled in the Netherlands.
About 700,000 of the eggs were distributed to the UK, with The Telegraph reporting that the British food safety watchdog had confirmed eggs may have already been eaten by consumers.
Prosecutors said in a statement they had conducted raids at eight locations in the Netherlands and Belgium, confiscating cars and seizing bank accounts and real estate.
The suspects arrested on Thursday were directors at Dutch company Chickfriend, which is at the centre of the scandal. Officials at the company could not be reached for comment.
Raids were conducted at locations linked to Chickfriend, which allegedly used the pesticide, as well as potential suppliers.
The company directors are suspected of threatening public health and possession of a prohibited pesticide, prosecutors said.
Fipronil is a popular insecticide to treat pets for fleas and ticks but it is forbidden for use in the food chain. The World Health Organization considers fipronil to be moderately toxic and says very large quantities can cause organ damage.
The German agriculture ministry estimates that 10.7 million possibly contaminated eggs were delivered to Germany from the Netherlands.
Romania’s food safety authority, ANSVSA, seized one tonne of German origin liquid egg yolk contaminated with fipronil from a warehouse in the western county of Timis, it said on Thursday.
“The quantity was seized from the storage space of the unit which received it from Germany. No amount of that bunch was sold on the Romanian market.” ANSVSA said.
In Britain, the Food Standards Agency said it had found more eggs than previously believed had entered the food chain, mainly through processed food.
“It is very unlikely that these eggs pose a risk to public health, but as Fipronil is unauthorised for use in food-producing animals we have acted with urgency to ensure that consumers are protected,” it said.
– with AAP