700, 000 potentially contaminated eggs in United Kingdom food chain — ALERT

A Morrisons Potato and Egg Salad

United Kingdom eggs from the supermarket have been confirmed safe by the company.

"It is likely that the number of eggs that have come to the United Kingdom is closer to 700,000 than the 21,000 we previously believed had been imported".

"While in some European countries eggs containing Fipronil residues have been sold as fresh eggs, in the United Kingdom this is not the case", the British agency said.

The U.K.'s food agency on Thursday admitted that more tainted eggs linked to a European food scare have been imported than previously estimated.

It said: "All major United Kingdom retailers stock British Lion shell eggs and tests have shown that there is no risk from British eggs".

The scare started in the Netherlands and Belgium and it is thought that disinfectant used in products on chicken farms is at fault.

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) is calling on United Kingdom retailers to show the same commitment to using British eggs in products such as sandwiches and salads as they do to sourcing their shelled eggs from Britain.

There are around 700,000 possibly contaminated eggs that have been distributed across the United Kingdom from Dutch and Belgian farms, prompting recalls from four supermarkets.

Chris Elliot, director of the Institute for Global Food Security, questioned why food regulators had been "so slow" to react to the contaminated egg scandal.

"Often when these food scandals start to break, you start to get dribbles of information", he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

"The potential is that number of 700,000 could increase quite a bit yet", he added.

Fipronil in itself is not an illegal product, but it cannot be used anywhere near chickens.

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The number of eggs or egg products imported is very small.

FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock said: "I'm confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do".

There are concerns that numerous contaminated eggs will already have entered the food chain through processed foods that use eggs, such as biscuits and cakes.

The FSA said the risk to health was very low.

"They are suspected of putting public health in danger by supplying and using fipronil in pens containing egg-laying chickens", prosecutors' spokeswoman Marieke van der Molen said.

Last month, Spanish police arrested and charged 65 people over the 2013 horse meat scandal, which came to light after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that 10 out of 27 hamburger products it analyzed in a study contained horse DNA.

"There are therefore no more products on the market", a government spokesman said.

Recall millions of eggs recalled from stores and warehouses in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium after they were discovered by toxic insecticides.

Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves in Germany as well as Belgium and the Netherlands.

Van der Molen says the Dutch raids on Thursday are part of a joint action with Belgian authorities.

It is illegal to use pesticides at a poultry farm.

Though no illnesses have been reported, prosecutors said there is evidence that public health has been threatened by "the delivery or application of the biocide Fipronil in poultry houses in the egg sector".

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