About 21,000 eggs contaminated with the insecticide fipronil were distributed to the UK between March and June this year, the Food Standards Agency has said.
It comes after the regulator said on Monday (7 August) it was “urgently investigating” after “a very small number” of eggs from Dutch farms implicated in the fipronil scandal were found to have made it to the UK.
The names of the businesses have not been disclosed, but the FSA said its investigations so far indicated that any affected products were no longer on shelves. It added it was working closely with businesses that had received the eggs.
The 21,000 eggs represent just 0.0001% of imports into the UK each year, and 85% of eggs consumed in the UK are also laid here.
“The number of eggs involved is very small and the risk to public health is very low, but we are urgently investigating the distribution of these eggs in the UK,” said an FSA spokesman.
The FSA said there was no need for consumers in the UK to change their egg consumption, and retailers have stressed their eggs are safe to eat, with the big four and Waitrose all saying their egg supplies are unaffected.
Investigators in the Netherlands believe the insecticide was illegitimately used in a cleaning product, made by a Belgian company, used to treat red mite in poultry houses. The poultry was then sold to about 180 Dutch farms, which have all had their egg sales stopped temporarily. Most of the eggs were sold to Germany, though several other European countries, including France and the UK also received some of the eggs.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that Dutch regulators are also testing poultrymeat from farms that produce eggs as well as meat. The FSA said it did not believe any meat from the farms affected had been distributed to the UK.
A spokesman said: ”We are aware that restrictions have been placed on the implicated farms for both egg and chicken in Belgium and the Netherlands. We are not aware of any onward distribution of chicken or chicken meat by those Member States to the UK from the affected farms.”