Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Medical | By Carla Vaughn

United Kingdom admits to underestimating imports of tainted eggs

United Kingdom admits to underestimating imports of tainted eggs

'Very small number'The Food Standards Agency (FSA) issues a statement this week saying that "a very small number" of eggs from the affected farms had reached the UK.

Dutch investigators on Thursday arrested two men suspected of being involved in the illegal use of the pesticide Fipronil at the poultry farms that sparked the scandal.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, the countries at the epicentre of the scare, authorities said they carried out coordinated searches at several premises linked to a fraud probe about how fipronil got into the food chain. Based on this, the BfR calculates that an adult weighing 65kg (143lb) would be able to eat up to seven eggs within 24 hours and still be within the safe range.

Dozens of farms are being checked in the Netherlands, while Belgium's food safety agency is probing how Fipronil might have entered eggs destined for supermarkets.

British egg processors have accused retailers of double standards when it comes to their procurement - stocking fresh egg from the United Kingdom but buying cheaper continental egg for products.

The Food Standards Agency said products affected in the United Kingdom were mainly processed foods in which egg is one ingredient among many others, mostly used in sandwich fillings or other chilled foods. Testing of eggs on farms is underway across the United Kingdom and results to date for England and Wales show no exposure to Fipronil.

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Tesco said it was unaffected and was not withdrawing any products. The Netherlands closed 180 poultry farms as a result of the scare.

However Rob van Lint added that, at the time, "there was not a single indication that Fipronil could also be in eggs". "The risk to consumer health is very low", it said.

It is believed that Fipronil, used to kill fleas, lice, ticks, roaches and mites, was inadvertently mixed with a cleaning product routinely used in chicken coops.

Millions of eggs have been recalled from shops and warehouses in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in recent weeks due to fears of contamination. "The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland are committed to ensuring that food is safe, and that United Kingdom consumers have food they can trust". The eggs were produced in the Netherlands, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) said. "If the laying hens where treated with fipronil, and fipronil was found in the eggs of the laying hens, the meet of the broiler chickens is tested for fipronil, before the broiler chickens are brought to the slaughterhouse".

The insecticide can damage people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands if eaten in large quantities.

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