Czechs tighten safety measures as contaminated egg scandal widens

The Czech Republic has introduced new safety measures to deal with the Europe-wide contaminated eggs scandal. As of Wednesday, all eggs and egg products imported to the country will have to undergo checks before being sold.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK Eggs containing fipronil, a substance used to kill fleas, lice and ticks on animals that is banned by the EU for use in the food industry, were first discovered in August in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Some 26 member states and another 9 European countries have been affected by the scandal so far, according to the EU commissioner in charge of health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.

“As of Wednesday, we will widen the safety measures, which applied to products from the Netherlands and Belgium, to all other countries,” Minister Jurečka told the Czech Radio on Tuesday.

Czech hygiene officers on Tuesday received an alert from Germany according to which several tonnes of products containing potentially contaminated eggs had been imported to the country.

Minister Jurečka confirmed the information in an interview for Czech Radio:

“Two businesses in the Pilsen and South Bohemian regions received deliveries which were probably contaminated with fipronil. They were pasteurised egg yolks and pasteurised liquid eggs. At this moment we are investigating where else these products could have been distributed.”

The pesticide is considered a health hazard if consumed in large quantities, damaging people’s kidneys, liver and thyroid gland. However food standard agencies have been downplaying the risks for anyone who has already consumed the contaminated eggs.

The substance was allegedly used to combat lice in some chicken farms, affecting the eggs of laying hens.

So far, no eggs contaminated with fipronil have been discovered in the Czech Republic. However, the company Mondelez announced on Monday that it was withdrawing six charges of cream puffs from Czech and Slovak markets, because they could potentially contain the dangerous substance. The results of the tests have not yet been released.