FOOD SAFETY experts are investigating how fresh organic chicken supplied by a farm in Northern Ireland came to be contaminated with a banned veterinary medicine.

The Food Standards Agency says the products – contaminated with a nitrofuran – have been sold under the brand names Moy Park, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons. 

Up to 23 tonnes of the affected chicken is thought to have been distributed across the UK.

Although the affected batches are no longer on sale in supermarkets and are past their use by dates, the FSA is worried that some shoppers may have frozen it for future use.

If this is the case, they have been told to throw it away or return it to the retailer where they bought it for a refund.

The agency said under EU law it was illegal to use nitrofurans in food producing animals because it could increase people‘s risk of getting cancer.

But the health risk from eating an affected chicken was low because concerns relate to long-term exposure to these drugs.

“However, we are taking action because it is not acceptable that traces of these drugs are present in food, as they have been banned within Europe since 1995.”

The problem came to light during routine tests.