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Bulgaria seizes contaminated eggs from Germany, sales in Netherlands improved

Staff Writer |
Authorities in Bulgaria have seized a tonne of powdered eggs contaminated with the same chemical that has led to millions of poultry products being recalled across Europe, the country's food safety agency said.

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The agency said it was informed by German officials earlier this month that a 500-kilogramme (1,100 pounds) batch of powdered eggs originating in Germany and used to make mayonnaise and ice cream was contaminated with the insecticide fipronil.

A second batch, also from Germany, was discovered on Tuesday.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves and destroyed across Europe and dozens of poultry farms closed since the fipronil contamination was made public on August 1.

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

The issue has sparked a row between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, the three countries at the centre of the crisis, about how long officials knew about the problem.

Sales of eggs in the Netherlands have returned to their usual levels after a two-week slump caused by the pesticide scandal.

The statistics agency CBS recorded a sharp drop in supermarket sales in the first half of August as leading chains such as Albert Heijn withdrew large numbers of eggs from sale.

In the first week of the month sales fell by 36% on the previous year’s figure, but two weeks later turnover was 3% higher than a year ago, statistics showed.

However, the effect on export sales, which account for the majority of Dutch egg production, still has to be factored in.

In Germany, which has a 80% share of the export market, major chains such as Aldi and Rewe stopped selling Dutch eggs when the fipronil scandal came to light.

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