Europe is in the grips of another food scare — the last time being three-four years ago when horse meat was found mixed in different kinds of cow meat.
However, this time the scare is spreading to Asia as well, with pesticide-contaminated eggs — which first appeared in European Union (EU) countries — now emerging in Hong Kong!
Here is everything you need to know about the entire scandal, and what has happened so far.
1. The first cases of contaminated eggs appearing in the market were reported in the Netherlands in mid-July.
2. The contaminant was believed to be Fipronil, a pesticide often used to keep animals — including dogs and cats — clean from insects such as ticks.
3. Fipronil is banned for use on animals that are meant for human consumption. It is considered toxic for humans and has also been classified as a carcinogen.
4. Since the reporting of the first cases in farms in the Netherlands, contaminated eggs were found to be coming from farms in Germany and France as well.
5. Contaminated eggs have been found in several EU countries. These are Belgium, Sweden, France, the UK, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Denmark.
6. Now, contaminated eggs have been found in the non-EU country of Switzerland, and then outside Europe as well. Hong Kong has reported eggs laced with Fipronil.
7. Dutch food standards agency NVWA has published a list of the batch numbers whose eggs are believed to be contaminated. Of these, it has isolated eggs from the batch 2-NL-4015502 as those that can cause more harm than others.
8. Following the contamination scandal, many farms across Belgium and the Netherlands are shut down, with a criminal investigation under way in both countries to ascertain how Fipronil came to be used on chickens.
9. Over one million eggs have been withdrawn since the beginning of this scandal.
10. The blame game for the contamination has already begun, with Belgium accusing the Dutch authorities of having known about the scandal since as early as December 2016.