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

08 August 2017
'Very small' number of eggs linked to contamination scare distributed in UK

While supermarkets in the Netherlands and Germany have massively withdrawn batches of eggs from their shelves, Belgium admitted that it was aware of the case as early as June.

The agency said that a "very small number of eggs" from farms using Fipronil, which has been used inappropriately in cleaning products on chicken farms, have been distributed to the UK.

A statement from FSA said: "Following concerns raised in the Netherlands about a substance called Fipronil which has been used inappropriately in cleaning products on chicken farms, we have identified that a very small number of eggs have been distributed to the United Kingdom from the farms affected".

Dutch food safety watchdog NVWA published a list this week of the serial numbers of eggs that were deemed unsafe, with one specific range of eggs labeled as an acute health hazard because of possible contamination with the insecticide fipronil.

The issue has drawn widespread attention in Germany and discount supermarket chain Aldi on Friday said it was withdrawing all eggs from sale at its more than 4,000 stores in Germany as a precaution.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told reporters last week that developments were being monitored "very closely".

The number of eggs involved in the scare represents about 0.0001% of the nearly two billion eggs imported into the United Kingdom each year.

Around 85% of eggs consumed in Britain are home-produced.

Belgian and Dutch authorities are investigating how the insecticide came illegally into contact with poultry.

"Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves".

Fipronil is an insecticide used in veterinary products for getting rid of fleas, ticks and lice on animals.

Around 180 poultry companies in the Netherlands, the second-largest agricultural exporter after the United States, have been temporarily closed.

Germany will protest to Brussels today after Belgian food safety authorities failed to warn neighbouring countries that eggs had been contaminated with a potentially poisonous insecticide.