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Toxic Eggs Serviced in Restaurants

Millions of customers may have been served poison eggs in restaurant food, it has emerged, as the regulator admitted that the contamination scandal was growing.

Last week supermarkets across Britain were forced to withdraw salads and sandwiches that were said to contain some of the 700,000 eggs imported from Dutch farms containing the pesticide fipronil. It has now emerged that liquid eggs made by the brand Cocovite, used widely by restaurants and caterers, are also contaminated.

The scale of the problem is far greater than projected by the Food Standards Agency, which initially told consumers that just 21,000 contaminated eggs had entered Britain.

It is not known how many people have eaten restaurant meals made with infected liquid eggs or which businesses use the 14 additional products now withdrawn.

“The egg in these foods may have been supplied from affected farms in the Netherlands before the blocks on these farms were imposed. It was incorporated into processed foods. Fresh eggs on sale in the UK remain unaffected,” the FSA said.

“It remains the case that the eggs we have identified represent only a fraction of a single percentage of the eggs we consume in the UK every year.”

The contaminated brand of liquid eggs is sold by the suppliers Henryson Foods International, Foodspeed, Richard Wellock & Sons, SFD and Braehead Foods.

The FSA has said that the risk of fipronil to human health is low. The anti-tick and flea pesticide is authorised in the EU for use in veterinary medicine but banned in products destined for the human food chain.
The latest alert comes a week after Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda removed thousands of lunch items from their shelves thought to contain the affected eggs.

About 85 per cent of all boxed eggs sold in the UK are British-laid and have been vaccinated against salmonella. They can easily be identified by the lion symbol on packaging. The FSA said that British-laid eggs were being tested for the presence of fipronil and all initial results had been clear.

Alan Boobis, chairman of the independent committee on toxicity, said: “Even at the highest level found, consumption of one or two meals containing these eggs in a day would not pose a danger. It is very unlikely that anyone in the UK would have been exposed to anything close to this, and there is no reason for consumers to be concerned.”

Food Standards Scotland announced that it had also been forced to withdraw products from high street supermarkets because of the contamination scandal, which has spread to at least eight countries across Europe.

Heather Hancock, chairwoman of the FSA, said: “Our advice remains clear — there’s no need to change how you buy or consume eggs. We are responding very quickly to any new information to ensure that any products left that contain egg from the affected farms are withdrawn immediately. We’re doing this because fipronil is not authorised for use in food-producing animals, not because we are concerned about any risk to health.”

Source: - 18 August 2017