At least a thousand people flocked to the Belgian town of Malmedy to eat the omelette, despite an egg contamination scare caused by the insecticide fipronil.

The omelette was made simply with eggs, bacon, oil and chives, and cooked over a wood fire.
The omelette was made simply with eggs, bacon, oil and chives, and cooked over a wood fire. (AFP)

A Belgian town honoured its 22-year-old tradition of making a giant omelette on Tuesday amidst an egg contamination scare, cooking 6,500 eggs in a pan four metres wide.

Millions of chicken eggs have been pulled from European supermarket shelves as a result of the scare over the use of the insecticide fipronil, which is forbidden in the food chain and can cause organ damage in humans.

Hundreds of people gathered in the eastern Belgian city of Malmedy undeterred by the scare and the president of the local branch of the giant omelette fraternity, Benedicte Mathy, said she was confident Tuesday's dish was safe to eat.

The World Giant Omelette Brotherhood collected 6,500 eggs from carefully selected places instead of the usual 10,000.
The World Giant Omelette Brotherhood collected 6,500 eggs from carefully selected places instead of the usual 10,000. (AFP)

Tainted eggs

Belgium became the first country last month to officially notify the EU's food safety alert system of the presence of eggs contaminated by the insecticide fipronil, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

The insecticide, which can harm human health, has since been discovered in eggs in 14 other European countries since the scandal came to light on August 1 and has even been found as far afield as Hong Kong.

It has forced millions of eggs to be removed from supermarket shelves and the closure of more than 150 farms in the Netherlands.

"We were hit full-on by the tainted eggs scare," Rene Bourguignon said as he waited to prepare the omelette.

World Giant Omelette Brotherhood

While at least 1,000 people braved rainy skies to get a bite, the turnout was far below last year's record 7,000.

The local branch of the World Giant Omelette Brotherhood has been organising the festival in Malmedy for more than 20 years.

It spent a week preparing for this year's culinary opus, collecting 6,500 eggs from carefully selected places instead of the usual 10,000.

"We have total confidence in our local products, our suppliers are local and they fulfilled every health guarantee we asked of them since the beginning," Bourguignon said.

The number of attendees was a good sign, the Brotherhood's "grand master," Jean-Pierre Gilles said.

"Of course, the public may have had its doubts and we did fear that a little, but seeing the numbers of people we saw today, I think it all went very well," Gilles said.

"Any doubts were swept away by friendship and warmth."

Made simply with eggs, bacon, oil and chives, and cooked over a wood fire, the omelette has been a fixture of the annual festival since the 1990s when Belgium was hit with a similar scandal -- over chicken and eggs contaminated with dioxin, a known carcinogen.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies