Contaminated eggs have been distributed in UK

Tests had shown the chemical fipronil, which can harm kidneys, liver and thyroid glands, was found in the eggs.

"It's now up to the Swedish, Swiss, French and to the United Kingdom to check because all these eggs are traceable and trackable", Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told reporters.

The FSA said in a statement: "The Food Standards Agency is committed to making sure that food is safe".

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarkets in Germany and the Netherlands in a widening scandal over possible contamination by the insecticide fipronil that has triggered investigations by prosecutors in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the temporary shutdown of some poultry farms.

"We have known since early June there was potentially a problem with fipronil in the poultry sector", Belgium's food safety agency spokeswoman Katrien Stragier told the BBC.

"The number of eggs involved represents about 0.0001% of the eggs imported into the United Kingdom each year", it said.

"Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves".

It is believed the substance was introduced to poultry farms by a Dutch business, named Chickfriend, which was called in to treat red lice, a nasty parasite in chickens.

The scare over contaminated eggs, which began in Belgium, has led supermarkets there and in Germany and the Netherlands to clear shelves of the product as the crisis entered its third week.

It is feared that farmers in the Netherlands may now need to cull millions of birds as it seeks to eradicate traces of the insecticide from production, according to LTO, a Dutch farming organisation.

Fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks.

GERMAN Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt on Saturday expressed concern about news that Belgian authorities first learned about the possible contamination of eggs with an insecticide in June, a month before the issue became public.

But it is banned from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.

  • Eleanor Harrison