The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said that no eggs imported into Ireland have tested positive for the chemical contaminant fipronil insecticide following a scare in a number of European countries.

The chemical has been found in eggs in Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and France, while Britain has reported that 700,000 eggs distributed across the UK have been implicated in the contamination scare.

The tainted eggs are believed to have originated from farms in the Netherlands.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said it carries out tests on egg samples for fipronil as part of its annual residue testing programme.

It said that there were no positive samples in 2016 and that all samples tested to date in 2017 have also been negative.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said that traceability on eggs is continuing.

The FSAI confirmed that a very small quantities of boiled eggs were supplied to nine catering outlets in Ireland. 

These eggs had a 'use-by' date of 17 July and are no longer available. 

Similarly, in early July, a small quantity of liquid pasteurised egg (with a 'use-by' date of 20 July) was supplied to a number of food businesses for use in bakery products.

All of the businesses concerned have been contacted and any remaining products removed from sale. 

The Authority says that the number of egg or egg products imported into Ireland is very small and the risk to consumer health is very low. .

Dutch investigators today arrested two suspects in connection with a probe into the discovery of the chemical in European eggs.

Dutch police spokeswoman Marieke van der Molen said: "It relates to two managers at the company that allegedly used the substance (fipronil) at poultry farms."

Discount supermarket chain Aldi has withdrawn suspect batches in a number of the countries.

One of the batches withdrawn by Aldi in Luxembourg contained so much fipronil that it was unsafe to be eaten by young children. The batch posed no threat to consumers, the Luxembourg government added.

Fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks but it is banned by the EU from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.

In large quantities, the insecticide is considered by the World Health Organization to be "moderately hazardous" and can have dangerous effects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.