10/08/2017 12:46 BST | Updated 10/08/2017 17:28 BST

Fipronil: EU Egg Scandal Affected More Eggs In Britain Than Previously Thought

'No need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs.'

Around 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms implicated in the Fipronil contamination scare have been distributed to Britain, many thousands more than first estimated, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said.

Products that used Dutch eggs are now being withdrawn from sale, but the FSA admitted many of the items which included affected eggs will now have been consumed.

Among the products withdrawn are egg salads from Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, and sandwiches from Waitrose and Morrisons.

Contamination with Fipronil, a ‘toxic’ insecticide, was reported by poultry farms in Europe, including in the Netherlands and Germany, last month.

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.

It comes as Dutch authorities arrested two men after an investigation into the use of the insecticide in poultry farms amid the growing scandal.

Fipronil is banned in products used around food-producing animals.

Reported adverse effects from consumption include sweating, nausea, vomiting, head and stomach pain, dizziness and seizures, according to the US National Pesticide Information Centre.

Farms which used the cleaning product have been subjected to stringent testing.

German retailer Aldi has already removed eggs from its stores in the country, though there is no suggestion the firm’s UK stores are impacted. 

The majority of eggs consumed in Britain are from the UK.

The FSA said it had no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately here.

A spokesperson for the British Egg Industry Council said: “British egg producers have reiterated the need for consumers and food producers to look for British Lion eggs and egg products.”

It comes after the agency said on Monday that a “very small number” of eggs, around 21,000, distributed in Britain were believed to be from affected farms and that the risk to the public was “very low”.

But Thursday’s announcement of the number of EU eggs in Britain affected is a 3,000 percent increase on previously confirmed figures.

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: “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.”

An inquiry has been launched into the scandal, amid claims Dutch authorities did not warn the EU soon enough after realising the potential for contamination.

In full: Egg products withdrawn by UK supermarkets

  • By Sainsbury’s Ham and Egg Salad – Pack size: 240g – Use by: 9-14 August
  • By Sainsbury’s Potato and Egg Salad – 300g – 9-14 August
  • Morrison’s Potato and Egg Salad – 250g – 13 August
  • Morrisons Egg and Cress Sandwich – Sold in Morrisons Cafe only – 11 August
  • Morrisons Cafe Sandwich Selection – Sold in Morrisons Cafe only – 11 August
  • Waitrose Free Range Egg Mayonnaise Deli Filler – 240g – 13-16 August
  • Waitrose Free Range Reduced Fat Egg Mayonnaise Deli Filler – 170g – 14 August
  • Waitrose Free Range Egg and Bacon Deli Filler – 170g – 14-16 August
  • Asda Baby potato and free range egg salad – 270g – 9-14 August
  • Asda Spinach and free range egg snack pot – 110g – 9-13 August
  • Asda FTG Ham and Cheddar ploughman’s salad bowl – 320g – 9-13 August