700000 pesticide-contaminated eggs imported into United Kingdom - authorities

Belgium Agriculture Minister Denis Ducharme

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said it carries out tests on egg samples for fipronil as part of its annual residue testing programme.

Britain, France, Sweden and Switzerland have all been warned to keep an eye out for tainted eggs arriving in their countries.

Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks from animals but is banned by the European Union from use in the food industry.

A joint Dutch-Belgian task force conducted raids at eight poultry farms in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch prosecution service.

Around 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms implicated in a contamination scare have been distributed to Britain - a figure far higher than the previously estimated 21,000.

The eggs were mostly sold to cafes and caterers, Danish authorities said, stressing that the level of the insecticide in the eggs was too low to pose a health risk to humans.

In response, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda have withdrawn a total of 11 products - including sandwiches, sandwich fillers and salads - from sale.

Supermarkets in several European countries have already started pulling million of eggs from the shelves.

"Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this", European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said on Friday.

The arrested suspects were directors at Dutch company Chickfriend, which is at the center of the scandal.

The British Egg Industry Council said shell eggs on sale to consumers in the United Kingdom were not affected.

It has since emerged Belgian officials knew about the contamination in June, but did not make the information public.

Millions of eggs and egg-based products have been pulled from European supermarket shelves in at least 11 countries, since the scandal went public August 1.

Recall millions of eggs recalled from stores and warehouses in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium after they were discovered by toxic insecticides.

The UK produces 85% of the eggs it consumes but imports nearly two billion annually, the FSA said.

Fipronil is a popular insecticide to treat pets for fleas and ticks but it is forbidden for use in the food chain. The first is a Dutch company called ChickFriend and the second is its Belgian supplier Poultry-Vision.

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