700000 pesticide-contaminated eggs imported into United Kingdom - authorities

700000 pesticide-contaminated eggs imported into United Kingdom - authorities

700000 pesticide-contaminated eggs imported into United Kingdom - authorities

Britain's food safety watchdog says far more eggs from affected farms have been imported than previously thought. In large quantities, it causes liver, kidney and thyroid damage to humans, though likely as a result of either long-term or direct exposure to the chemical.

Supermarkets in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have also withdrawn millions of eggs from sale after concerns about contamination.

Several Irish food businesses have been forced to remove products from their shelves after it emerged that Dutch eggs and egg products implicated in a contamination scare have been distributed in Ireland.

According to the Daily Telegraph, fresh eggs are largely unaffected, "with contaminated eggs instead present in processed foods in which they are one ingredient among many others, mostly used in sandwich fillings or other chilled foods".

A spokesperson said investigations indicated it was "very unlikely" that the eggs posed a risk to public health.

The products that are being withdrawn by retailers include egg salads, sandwiches, mayonnaise and egg snack pots.

In the European Union, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) was created in 1979 and enables information to be shared between its members (EU-28 national food safety authorities, Commission, EFSA, ESA, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland).

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While only considered mildly toxic in small amounts, one farm in the Netherlands was found to have eggs with acutely harmful levels.

The Netherlands' public prosecutors' office said today that it had arrested two directors of the Dutch business under investigation for selling a fipronil treatment. Markets including Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland have been forced to issue recalls of affected eggs supplied by Dutch farms.

Two Luxembourg suppliers of prepared meals, Caterman and Carnesa, also reported having received cartons of liquid eggs from a contaminated source in Belgium.

"While in some European countries eggs containing Fipronil residues have been sold as fresh eggs, in the United Kingdom this is not the case", the British agency said. Warning systemBEIC chief executive Mark Williams said in the circular: "As you may be aware, almost 200 farms in the Netherlands have had restrictions imposed on them so they are not permitted to move eggs, manure and/or birds due to the use of DEGA-16". It said farmers had contracted a company to treat their birds against red mite, expecting that the treatment used would be effective and safe.

Some of the products the eggs went into will have a short shelf life so will have already been consumed, the FSA added.

Aldi earlier this month pulled all Dutch eggs from its stores in Germany.

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