'Very small' number of eggs linked to contamination scare distributed in UK

Alicia Cross
August 8, 2017

It comes after Aldi and Lidl pulled all Dutch eggs from its shelves in Germany last week as the scandal spread through Europe.

She said the move was purely precautionary and did not mean that eggs contaminated with fipronil had actually entered those countries.

A "very small number" of European eggs at the centre of a contamination scare have been distributed in Britain, but the public health threat is "very low", the Food Standards Agency said.

"The number of eggs involved represents about 0.0001% of the eggs imported into the United Kingdom each year", it said.

Food producers, however, say there is no need to remove mayonnaise, cakes and other products containing egg from the shelves.

The watchdog initially stated on Friday (4 August) there was "no evidence that UK-produced eggs are affected or that contaminated products have entered the United Kingdom market".

The agriculture ministry said they were unable to immediately say whether any of the products had been shipped to customers.

It is believed the substance was introduced to poultry farms by a Dutch business, named Chickfriend, which was called in to treat red lice, a nasty parasite in chickens.

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It is feared that farmers in the Netherlands may now need to cull millions of birds as it seeks to eradicate traces of the insecticide from production, according to LTO, a Dutch farming organisation.

Just yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Belgian food safety agency admitted that Belgium had known about the contamination since June this year, but had not publicly announced it due to a related ongoing fraud investigation, and its own investigations into the severity of the situation.

Facing pressure from Germany and the Netherlands, Ducarme promised "complete transparency".

Belgian officials said on Saturday they had kept the problem secret and failed to trigger the EU's worldwide food safety alert system, but said it was because of a fraud probe.

Germany has demanded an explanation from Belgium about why the issue was kept covered up.

It is thought to have been used on chickens in Belgium and could be potentially unsafe to humans.

The substance is absorbed into the skin or feathers of chickens and then passes into the eggs.

If ingested in large amounts, fipronil can cause damage to the liver, thyroid glands, and kidneys.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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