BERLIN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The scandal surrounding Fipronil contaminated eggs in Germany is far larger than first admitted by authorities, a report on Wednesday by the newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung (NOZ) suggests.
According to the report, 28.1 million eggs contaminated with the pesticide could have been delivered to the German state of Lower Saxony alone. The Germany Federal Ministry for Agriculture had previously estimated that only around 10.7 million Fipronil eggs entered the country from the Netherlands.
The NOZ report bases its larger estimate on an analysis conducted by the state agricultural ministry of Lower Saxony using data from the European Union's rapid warning system.
The ministry confirmed that "recalls for these batches (some 28.1 million eggs) were ordered. "Nearly 17 million Fipronil eggs were re-exported from Lower Saxony to other German states. The latter figure included batches from poultry farms under suspicion as well as those where Fipronil contamination had been proven by authorities.
Lower Saxony's minister for agriculture Christian Meyer was shocked by the high number of contaminated eggs and accused the federal government of inaction.
"The numbers are deduced from the EU rapid warning system. The federal government could have taken a look at those themselves," he told NOZ.
As of Wednesday, the Fipronil scandal has reached twelve European countries. Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are the worst affected.
A total of 180 farms in the Netherlands are confirmed to have used an anti-lice poison, which contained Fipronil. In one case the concentration was so high that Dutch authorities warned against "acute danger" to consumers of the affected eggs.
The insecticide Fipronil is considered poisonous by the World Health Organization and is forbidden for use on animals destined for the food chain to prevent damage to the liver, thyroid and kidney.