The Food Standards Agency says it is investigating how eggs that may have been contaminated with a toxic insecticide ended up on UK supermarket shelves.
Millions of eggs have had to be cleared from shops in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany over recent days because of concern they may have been contaminated by the product fipronil.
The FSA announced on Monday (7 August) that it had discovered that a “very small” number of eggs contaminated with the insecticide had been distributed in the UK from affected farms in the Netherlands.
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The product is thought to have been used “inappropriately” as a cleaning product on some EU farms, despite not being authorised for use as a veterinary medicine or pesticide around food-producing animals.
Very low risk to public health
In a statement the FSA said: “The number of eggs involved is very small and the risk to public health is very low, but we are urgently investigating the distribution of these eggs in the UK.
“We are working closely with the businesses that have received eggs from affected farms.
“Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves.”
The FSA said it estimates that the number of eggs involved represents only 0.0001% of the eggs imported into the UK each year.
It added that 85% of the eggs consumed in the UK are from British farms and there is no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated.
It is thought that the level of potential exposure from the eggs is so low it is unlikely to pose a risk to public health.
The FSA said: “Our advice is that there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs or products containing eggs.”