Around 700,000 eggs from Dutch farms at the centre of a contamination scare have been distributed in Britain, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said.
The figure is much higher than the 21,000 first estimated earlier this week .
The contamination scare involves the pesticide Fipronil with concerns raised in the Netherlands.
The substance is said to have been used “inappropriately” in cleaning products on chicken farms although it is not authorised around food producing animals.
The FSA said investigations into the Fipronil incident in Europe suggested it was “very unlikely” that the eggs posed a risk to public health.
They added that products affected in the UK were processed foods in which egg is one ingredient among many others, mostly used in sandwich fillings or other chilled foods.
The FSA said some of the products made from these eggs will have had a short shelf life and will have already been consumed, but some were still within the expiry date and were being withdrawn by the businesses involved.
Many of the eggs were mixed with others which had not come from affected farms so Fipronil residues would be highly diluted, the FSA said.
The decision to withdraw the products was not due to food safety concerns but based on the fact that the pesticide is not authorised for use in food-producing animals.
The FSA said it had no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately in the UK.
Testing of eggs on farms is under way across the UK and results to date for England and Wales show no exposure to Fipronil.
FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock 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.”
Aldi and Lidl stores in Germany, along with Dutch supermarkets, have already taken millions of eggs off their shelves.
Aldi said it was “purely precautionary” and added that those sold in its UK outlets are produced in Britain.
The scare started in the Netherlands and Belgium and it is thought that disinfectant used in products on chicken farms is at fault.
Belgian authorities admitted that a farm alerted them to possible contamination in June – several weeks before the scare became public knowledge – but they thought it was an isolated case.
Britain produces 85% of the eggs it consumes but imports almost two billion annually, the FSA added.
Reported adverse effects from consumption of Fipronil include sweating, nausea, vomiting, head and stomach pain, dizziness and seizures, according to the US National Pesticide Information Centre.
Here is the Food Standards Agency list of egg products withdrawn due to a contamination scare.
Product – Pack size – Use-by dates
:: By Sainsbury’s Ham and Egg Salad – 240g – August 9-14
:: By Sainsbury’s Potato and Egg Salad – 300g – August 9-14
:: Morrison’s Potato and Egg Salad – 250g – August 13
:: Morrisons Egg and Cress Sandwich – Sold in Morrisons Cafe only – August 11
:: Morrisons Cafe Sandwich Selection – Sold in Morrisons Cafe only – August 11
:: Waitrose Free Range Egg Mayonnaise – 240g – August 13
:: Waitrose Free Range Reduced Fat Egg Mayonnaise – 170g – August 14
:: Waitrose Free Range Egg and Bacon – 170g – August 14
:: Waitrose Free Range Egg and Bacon – 170g – August 16
:: Waitrose Free Range Egg Mayonnaise – 240g – August 16
:: Asda Baby potato and free range egg salad – N/A – August 9-14
:: Asda Spinach and free range egg snack pot – N/A – August 9-14
:: Asda FTG Ham and Cheddar ploughman’s salad bowl – N/A – Aug 9-13
Source : Chroniclelive