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Aug 16, 11:32 AM EDT

Belgium joins legal action against tainted egg 'cheats'

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BRUSSELS (AP) -- Belgium's Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme says the government will join in legal action against those responsible for the egg contamination scandal, which has hit at least 17 countries.

Ducarme told The Associated Press Wednesday that "the Belgian government wants to take part in civil proceedings."

He said the move is "not merely symbolic," and that any money won would be used to help support the agriculture sector. He said "the cheats will have to pay."

Millions of eggs have been destroyed or pulled from supermarket shelves since July 20. The pesticide Fipronil was found to have been illegally mixed in an insect spray for chickens.

But Ducarme said contamination levels were low and that almost one month on "we can really say that we are coming out of this crisis."

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