Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda have withdrawn a series of products from their shelves due to contaminated eggs. An estimated 700,000 eggs have been sent to the UK from Dutch farms that are thought to be contaminated.
The products includes sandwiches, salads and sandwich fillers, with 11 products being removed in total.The supermarket's actions are thought to be precautionary at this stage.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have said a risk to public health was 'very unlikely'. The potentially contaminated Dutch eggs were not sold in shell form but as part of other products. The British Egg Industry Council has confirmed that eggs on sale to consumers in the UK were not affected.
The BBC report that two people have been arrested by the Dutch police on suspicion of using the insecticide fipronil. This can be very harmful if consumed by humans. The anti-flea and tick pesticide is banned in products which are for human consumption. It can cause sweating, nausea, vomiting and in serious cases seizures. James Gallagher, health and science reporter from BBC News, said: "Fipronil should not be allowed anywhere near food."
According to the FSA the traces of fipronil were mixed in with other chemical residues and were therefore highly diluted.
It was initially estimated that only 21,000 contaminated eggs had reached the UK. While the most recent figures are considerably higher, at 700,000 eggs, the FSA said that this figure only represented around 0.007 per cent of the eggs eaten in the UK each year. This explains why it sees a public health risk in the UK as very unlikely.
The risk is much more serious for other European countries. Denmark's food safety authority warned that 20 tonnes of insecticide-tainted eggs had been sold there.
Romania and Luxembourg have also reported finding contaminated products. Lidl and Aldi have been forced to remove millions of eggs from the shelves in its German and Dutch stores.
Products removed from sale:
- Asda baby potato and free range egg salad (270g) use by 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 August
- Asda spinach and free range egg snack pot (110g) use by 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 August
- Asda FTG ham and cheddar ploughman's salad bowl (320g) use by 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 August
- Morrisons potato and egg salad (250g) use by up to 13 August
- Morrisons egg and cress sandwich (sold in Morrisons Cafe only) use by up to and including 11 August
- Morrisons cafe sandwich selection (sold in Morrisons Cafe only) use by up to and including 11 August
- Sainsbury's ham and egg salad (240g) use by 9-14 August 2017
- Sainsbury's potato and egg salad (300g) use by 9-14 August
- Waitrose free range egg mayonnaise deli filler (240g) use by 13 and 16 August
- Waitrose free range reduced fat egg mayonnaise deli filler (170g) use by 14 August
- Waitrose free range egg and bacon deli filler (170g) use by 14 and 16 August