Four major supermarkets have been removing eggs from their shelves, as it has emerged that 700,000 contaminated eggs have reached Britain from Holland.
Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda have been withdrawing 11 items – including sandwiches and salads – though some may have already been consumed.
At first, it was thought that 21,000 contaminated eggs had reached the UK from Dutch farms implicated in a contamination scare.
The eggs reportedly contain traces of an insecticide called fipronil. It is used to kill lice on animals.
If consumed in large quantities by humans it can damage the kidneys, liver, and thyroid glands.
Dutch police have arrested two people suspected of using fipronil.
A statement by the FSA said: “The decision to withdraw these products is not due to food safety concerns, but is based on the fact that fipronil is not authorised for use in food producing animals.
“The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland are committed to ensuring that food is safe, and that UK consumers have food they can trust.
“We are reminding food businesses of their legal responsibilities, which include informing the FSA or FSS and relevant local authorities immediately if they have any reason to believe that a food which they have imported, produced, processed or distributed does not comply with food safety requirements.”
The agency added that it is ‘unlikely’ the eggs pose a risk to public health.
The retail giants affected by the scandal put out statements, with a Sainsbury’s spokesperson claiming that the safety of products is the store’s priority.
They added: “Our supplier has made us aware that two salad bowls, which contain egg, may include very small traces of fipronil.
“The FSA has advised that this is unlikely to pose a health risk, but we’re withdrawing these products from sale on a temporary basis as a precautionary measure.”
A spokesperson for Morrisons added: “We are working closely with the FSA on their fipronil investigation and we have taken precautionary and prompt action to withdraw the three products that may be affected.
“The safety of our customers remains our priority.”
Addressing complaints about imported eggs being used in its products, a Waitrose spokesperson claimed the supermarket uses the imported items ‘sometimes’ when it is unable to source UK-produced ones.
They added: “Three of our sandwich fillers have been withdrawn from sale as a precaution.
“Our own assessments based on industry-wide scientific standards have shown that these products do not pose any risk to health.”
Millions of eggs have been pulled off the shelves in Belgium and Germany, following news of the scare, and 180 farms have been temporarily closed.
Dutch investigators confirmed they had arrested two managers from farms allegedly using fipronil.
A statement by prosecutors said: “The Dutch investigation focused on the Dutch company that allegedly used fipronil, a Belgian supplier, as well as a Dutch company that colluded with the Belgian supplier.
“They are suspected of putting public health in danger by supplying and using fipronil in pens containing egg-laying chickens.”
The investigation is ongoing.