700,000 contaminated eggs distributed in UK

Eggs from Dutch farms

Close to 700,000 eggs have been distributed to the UK from Dutch farms that are believed to be contaminated with dangerous insecticide.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) previously believed 21,000 eggs were implicated in the Fipronil contamination scare but they announced today the figure was much higher.

The FSA said as this represents 0.007% of the eggs we consume in the UK every year, there is unlikely to be ‘any risk to public health from consuming these foods.’

The products affected are processed foods in which egg is one ingredient among many others, mostly used in sandwich fillings or other chilled foods.  While in some European countries eggs containing Fipronil residues have been sold as fresh eggs,  this is not the case UK the FSA said.

Some of the products made from these eggs will have had a short shelf life and will have already been consumed, however, those identified that are still within the expiry date are now being withdrawn by the businesses involve.

In a statement, the FSA said: “While in some European countries eggs containing Fipronil residues have been sold as fresh eggs, in the UK this is not the case. Many of the eggs involved were mixed with other eggs which have not come from affected farms so Fipronil residues will be highly diluted.”

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘I’m confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do.

“The number of eggs involved is small in proportion to the number of eggs we eat, and it is very unlikely that there is a risk to public health. Based on the available evidence there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs.

“However, Fipronil is not legally allowed for use near food-producing animals and it shouldn’t be there.”

Fipronil is a pesticide used in some disinfectant products and is banned in products around food-producing animals.

The FSA said the decision to withdraw these products is not due to food safety concerns, but is based on the fact that Fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals. The Food Standards Agency said they are committed to ensuring that food is safe, and that UK consumers have food they can trust.

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