The following notice has been issued by the Food Standards Agency:
We continue our urgent work to trace egg products which might contain Fipronil. In most cases the identified products were past their expiry date but those remaining are being withdrawn immediately. Today we have updated our withdrawal list with 14 additional products that are still within their shelf life. Most of these products have been distributed to food manufacturers and catering outlets.
It remains very unlikely that there is any risk to public health, but as Fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals we are tracking down implicated food products and ensuring that they are removed from sale.
The egg in these foods may have been supplied from affected farms in the Netherlands before the blocks on these farms were imposed. It was incorporated into processed foods; fresh eggs on sale in the UK remain unaffected. Most of the additional egg products that have been identified were imported into the UK in liquid form so it is no longer practicable to provide a figure in terms of whole eggs, however, it remains the case that the egg we have identified represents only a fraction of a single percentage of the eggs we consume in the UK every year.
85% of the eggs we eat in the UK are laid here. As a precaution, UK eggs are being tested for the presence of Fipronil, and all initial results have been clear.
New information from the European authorities and from the UK food industry is helping us to find implicated products quickly. Investigations are ongoing, and we will continue to publish updates on a regular basis.
Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency said: ‘Our advice remains clear – there’s no need to change how you buy or consume eggs. We are responding very quickly to any new information, to ensure that any products left that contain egg from the affected farms is withdrawn immediately. We’re doing this because Fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals, not because we are concerned about any risk to health.”
Professor Alan Boobis, Chair of the independent Committee on Toxicity said: ‘Even at the highest level found, consumption of one or two meals containing these eggs in a day would not pose a danger. It is very unlikely that anyone in the UK would have been exposed to anything close to this, and there is no reason for consumers to be concerned.”
List of withdrawn products
Henrysons Foods International Ltd
Lot 254, Cocovite Egg White – BBE 14/09/17
Lot 255, Cocovite 1 kg Carton Whole Eggs – BBE 15/09/17
Lot 285, Cocovite 1 kg Egg Yolk – BBE 06/10/17
Lot 291, Cocovite 2 kg Liquid Egg Yolk cartons – use-by date 21/08/17
Lot 283, Cocovite 10 kg Liquid Whole Egg cartons – use-by date 04/10/17
Lot 285, Cocovite 1 kg Liquid Whole Egg cartons – use-by date 18/08/17
Lot 292, Cocovite 1 kg Liquid Egg Yolk cartons – use-by date 10/10/17
Lot 275, Cocovite 1 kg Liquid Egg White cartons – use-by date 29/09/17
Lot 264, Cocovite 1 kg Liquid Egg White cartons – use-by date 21/09/17
Richard Wellocks & Sons Ltd
Lot 285, Cocovite Liquid Egg Yolk 1 kg cartons – use-by date 06/10/2017
SFD (GB) Limited
Lot 255, Cocovite Liquid Whole Egg 1kg – use-by date 15/09/17
Braehead Foods Ltd
Cocovite Egg Yolk Pasteurised 1 kg – use-by dates 09/10/17 and 10/10/17
Cocovite Egg White Pasteurised 1kg – use-by dates 09/10/17 and 10/10/17
Cocovite Whole Liquid Egg 1kg carton – use-by dates 09/10/17 and 10/10/17
Q&A on Fipronil in eggs incident
What is Fipronil?
Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide and acaricide (to kill insects and mites). It is authorised in the EU for use in veterinary medicine to combat insects such as fleas, lice, ticks, cockroaches and mites in pets such as dogs and cats. Its use on food-producing animals (livestock) is not permitted.
Fipronil is also approved as a biocide to be used as an insecticide against cockroaches, ants or termites. Its use on surfaces where food is prepared or on food producing animals is not permitted.
Fipronil is also used as an active substance in plant protection products (pesticide) to control various soil insects; its use is restricted as a treatment on seeds to be sown in greenhouses.
How has Fipronil ended up in eggs?
The current situation regarding the presence of Fipronil residues in eggs is believed to have been caused by the illegal use of the chemical on farms in the Netherlands to combat parasites in food-producing animals (chickens). This illegal activity has resulted in Fipronil being detected in eggs and chicken meat (meat from end-of-life laying hens) produced by these animals. Authorities in member states have been investigating this issue and a number of arrests have been made.
What has the FSA and FSS done about the eggs that have come to the UK from affected farms?
The authorities from affected member states put a stop on exports from implicated farms to other member states. Some eggs had already come into the UK from implicated farms. We use the phrase ‘implicated farms’ as the presence of Fipronil had not been confirmed in all batches of eggs, but the relevant authorities in those countries suspected that there had been unauthorised use of Fipronil on those farms.
The FSA and FSS have carried out traceability investigations, working with industry and its trade organisations to identify products containing eggs from implicated farms and withdrawing them from sale.
The FSA and FSS is working with the European Commission and we are being updated on investigations by other member states as further information comes to light.
The investigation is ongoing and the FSA and FSS will continue to provide updates.
What is the risk to health if people eat these eggs or products containing these eggs?
Based on the FSA’s risk assessment, a risk to public health is very unlikely.
The number of eggs involved represents only a fraction of a single percentage of the eggs we consume in the UK every year. Taking into account how these eggs have been used as an ingredient in processed products such as sandwiches, salads, etc it is unlikely there is a risk to anyone’s health.
There is no need for consumers to be concerned. Our advice is that there is no need for people to avoid eggs or products containing them, or to change the way they consume or cook eggs or products containing eggs.
What is the risk of Fipronil in food affecting the health of vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women?
The FSA’s risk assessment has taken into account pregnant women and children, as well as vulnerable health groups and no cause for safety concern has been identified.
Even assuming that eggs contain the highest concentration of Fipronil that has been found during investigations in Europe, people’s intakes of Fipronil are expected to be well within an internationally-agreed safety level, which is protective of all groups of the population, including pregnant women.
There is no need for consumers who are pregnant to be concerned. Our advice is that there is no need for people to avoid eggs or products containing them, or to change the way they consume or cook eggs or products containing eggs.
What is your advice to people regarding eating/cooking eggs?
Based on the available evidence, there is no need for people to avoid eggs or products containing them, or to change the way they consume or cook eggs.
Is chicken meat affected?
We are aware that restrictions have been placed on the implicated farms for both egg and chicken in Belgium and the Netherlands. To date, testing of chicken meat in Belgium has been negative for Fipronil. Our investigations continue and, as a matter of urgency, we are following closely this testing programme and seeking information on whether any chicken or chicken meat from the implicated farms has been distributed to the UK. We are not aware of any concerns to date over chicken meat that has come to the UK.