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UK food chain faces egg contamination scare

Approximately 700,000 contaminated eggs have been imported to the UK from Dutch farms.

However, the Food Standards Agency maintains that this figure represents just “0.007% of the eggs we consume in the UK every year.” The FSA also says that it is very unlikely that the eggs, which were imported from farms which use Fipronil an insecticide used to kill lice and ticks on animals will pose any risk to public health.

The FSA adds that “many of the eggs involved were mixed with other eggs which have not come from affected farms and so Fipronil residues will be highly diluted.”

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 These are now being withdrawn by the businesses involved.

Testing of eggs on farms is underway across the UK and results to date for England and Wales show no exposure to Fipronil.

Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, says, “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.”

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