Contaminated eggs: Supermarkets urgently withdraw sandwiches and salads

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Supermarkets are urgently withdrawing salads and sandwiches after the Food Standards Authority admitted that 700,000 eggs contaminated by dangerous insecticide Fipronil could have already been sold in the UK.

Originally just 21,000 Dutch eggs implicated in the Fipronil contamination scare were thought to have been shipped to Britain.

However, new figures released on Thursday showed more than triple the amount had crossed the UK border.

Stressing that it was “very unlikely that these eggs pose a risk to public health”, the FSA released a list of potentially affected products.

Morrison’s egg and cress sandwiches and Waitrose egg mayo deli fillers were among them.

Products being recalled include sandwiches and salads from Asda, Waitrose, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s

Whole eggs still in their shells are not thought to have been brought into the UK from European farms affected by the scare, however some cooked eggs sold in mixed products are.

Heather Hancock, chairman of the FSA, said: “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 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 disinfectant in products used on chicken farms is to blame for the contamination.

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.

Belgian authorities admitted 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 per cent of the eggs it consumes but imports almost two billion annually, the FSA added.

The British Egg Industry Council said there was no need to “change the way they cook or consume eggs” and that buyers should look for the British Lion mark to ensure they are getting “safe British eggs”.

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