The Latest: Report: Egg scandal suspect denies involvement

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the contaminated egg scare in Europe (all times local):

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6:50 p.m.

Dutch media are reporting that a suspect in Europe's contaminated egg scandal is denying involvement and says he tipped off authorities last year about the use of the insecticide Fipronil by two companies believed to be under investigation.

Respected news show EenVandaag reported Friday that Nick Hermens said that he named a Dutch company called ChickFriend and its Belgian supplier in an anonymous tip last November.

Two men arrested on suspicion of involvement in the illegal use of Fipronil to treat lice in laying hens are widely reportedly to be directors of ChickFriend, although Dutch prosecutors haven't released details.

The Dutch food safety agency has acknowledged receiving an anonymous tip about the possible use of Fipronil, but said it didn't suggest that the pesticide could have contaminated eggs.

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3:25 p.m.

Romania's food safety chief says there aren't any indications of more pesticide-tainted eggs in Romania, hours after officials incinerated a ton of pasteurized yolks.

Geronimo Branescu, director of the government Veterinary Health and Food Safety Authority, said there was "no suspicion or notification from the EU ... about another lot of eggs tainted" with the pesticide Fipronil.

He praised the European Union alert system, saying: "I am firmly convinced any potential risk identified ... by the European Commission will be brought to our attention ...and we will have a precise and rapid intervention."

Branescu said the 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of yolks which came from Germany were incinerated Friday morning in the western city of Timisoara. The yolks would have been used in food products and cosmetics.

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2:20 p.m.

Upper Austria's provincial government says two companies have recalled eggs possibly tainted with Fipronil and food control agents are conducting additional spot checks of eggs for evidence of the insecticide.

Government official Rudi Anschober says the recall affects hardboiled eggs used by restaurants. He said Friday that the recall already has been completed in one case, with all shipments accounted for before the eggs were delivered.

Anschober says Austria-wide spot checks up until now haven't revealed any traces of the Fipronil in raw eggs destined for grocery store shelves.

It's believed that the insecticide got into the food chain after it was illegally added in Belgium and the Netherlands to a product used to treat poultry for lice, fleas and ticks.

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2:10 p.m.

Denmark's food safety agency says Denmark-based Nordic Egg has imported two tons of scrambled eggs that contained the pesticide Fiprolin.

Nordic Egg is part of Germany-based group Waden Group GmbH, which claims to be Europe's largest boiled and peeled eggs company.

The Veterinary and Food Administration says the pesticide wasn't in "a strength that is harmful." But the eggs were ordered withdrawn.

On Thursday, the agency said 20 tons of boiled and peeled eggs had been sold by an unnamed Belgian subcontractor in recent months to a distributor in Denmark, which in turn sold them to canteens, cafes and catering companies in the country.

Samples analyzed had showed traces of Fipronil, and the Danish distributor, Danaeg Products was ordered to recall the eggs because "the content is illegal" but "not dangerous."

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1:55 p.m.

The European Union says it wants to hold an extraordinary meeting late next month to discuss the egg contamination scandal.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Friday that a provisional date for EU ministers and authorities concerned by the scandal to meet has been set for Sept. 26.

Andreeva said "the aim is to draw the relevant lessons and discuss the ways to continuously improve the effectiveness of the EU system to deal with food fraud."

She said the EU's "priority remains to manage the situation, to continue to coordinate and to reassure our citizens."

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12:50 p.m.

EU officials say 15 European Union members plus China and Switzerland have reported receiving contaminated eggs or egg products in a growing food scandal.

Several producers in the Netherlands and Belgium are under investigation after eggs there were found to have been treated with a product containing pesticide Fipronil. EU trade and agriculture spokesman Daniel Rosario said Friday that farms have also been blocked in France and Germany.

He named 13 other countries that have received products from affected farms.

The semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong was the only non-European place mentioned. Rosario said the others are Sweden, Britain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Denmark and non-EU member Switzerland.

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10:10 a.m.

France's agriculture minister says tests on imported eggs contaminated with pesticide show no risk to public health.

Stephane Travert said on RMC radio Friday that some 244,000 eggs imported from the Netherlands and Belgium and sold in France were affected by the contamination from pesticide Fipronil. They are among millions of contaminated eggs sold in several European countries, prompting a continent-wide food safety scare.

Travert said test results received overnight from the French food safety agency on affected eggs and egg products showed "the level of contamination does not present a risk for the consumer."

It's believed that the insecticide got into the food chain when it was illegally added to a product used to treat poultry for lice, fleas and ticks.

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9:25 a.m.

Danish food safety authorities say 20 tons of boiled and peeled eggs linked to the pesticide scandal in the Netherlands and Belgium were sold in recent months to a distributor in Denmark, which in turn sold them to canteens, cafes and catering companies in the country.

The Veterinary and Food Administration says samples analyzed in the Netherlands showed traces of Fipronil, but "not at a harmful level."

The agency said Thursday the Danish distributor, Danaeg Products, has been ordered to recall the eggs because "the content is illegal" but "not dangerous."

The Danish watchdog added that Danaeg Products bought the eggs from an unnamed Belgian subcontractor.