UK embroiled in fipronil eggs scandal after batches distributed in Britain, FSA investigates

8ed94675-5fa8-44e2-8f85-12ba7ded1befarticleimage.jpg

08 Aug 2017 --- The scare over the use of insecticide fipronil and how it got into batches of eggs has widened – with UK government agencies issuing a warning that a small number of contaminated eggs have got into Britain’s food chain and have already been consumed. They were imported into the UK between March and June, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which has started an official investigation. This means in all likelihood the eggs would have been already consumed. 

The fipronil food scandal has rocked the food industry and consumer confidence in the Netherlands and Germany over the last couple of weeks and now the UK admits some eggs were imported into the country from affected farms at the center of the scare.

Last week FoodIngredientsFirst revealed how the Dutch food and product safety board (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, or NVWA) banned 180 poultry farms from sending their eggs to market because they may be contaminated with the pesticide – which is used to treat lice and ticks in chickens and some tests show that it can harm kidneys, the liver and thyroid gland in people. 

You can read the stories here and here.

The UK Food Standards Agency has now issued a statement which says that following the concerns rose in the Netherlands about fipronil, which has been used inappropriately in cleaning products on chicken farms, it has identified “that a very small number of eggs have been distributed to the UK from the farms affected.”

“Fipronil is not authorized for use as a veterinary medicine or pesticide around food producing animals,” continues the statement.

“The Food Standards Agency is committed to making sure that food is safe. The number of eggs involved is very small and the risk to public health is very low, but we are urgently investigating the distribution of these eggs in the UK.”

The FSA says that it is working closely with the businesses that have received eggs but does not name these companies in its statement. 

“Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves. The government has already taken action to prevent any risk to UK consumers by adding Fipronil to its robust surveillance program in UK farms. We have no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately in the UK. 85 percent of the eggs we consume in the UK are laid here.”

The FSA is keen to stress the small volumes that these eggs represent but estimates the number of imported eggs at around the 20,000 mark. 

“The number of eggs involved represents about 0.0001 percent of the eggs imported into the UK each year. Our risk assessment, based on all the information available, indicates that as part of a normal healthy diet this low level of potential exposure is unlikely to be a risk to public health and there is no need for consumers to be concerned,” continues the FSA.

“Our advice is that there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs or products containing eggs.”

Supermarkets including Aldi and Lidl in Germany have already pulled millions of eggs from the shelves because of concerns they may contain small traces of fipronil. They say it is as a precautionary measure. 

Yesterday, FoodIngredientsFirst also reported how Dutch food safety institute, RIKILT, has been enlisted to analyze eggs from several poultry companies. Read more here

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Superfoods: (Part 1) The evolution of nutrient-rich food for health-conscious consumers

17 Oct 2017 --- Superfoods can be classified as foods that are superior in terms of their nutritional value or nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Even small portions of some superfoods can supply an abundance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and more. Many superfoods contain extraordinary characteristics that can have a variety of health benefits from boosting immunity, treating illness/disease, reducing blood pressure, cutting sugar intake, lowering cholesterol and more.

Regulatory News

Jamie Oliver sugar tax success: Drop in sugary drinks sales at his Italian chain

17 Oct 2017 --- Introducing a small levy to the price of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) sold in Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurants across the UK is likely to have contributed to a significant decline in SSB sales, according to new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. The celebrity chef and food campaigner has collated the results of a study that has been running in his 37 Italian restaurants exploring the effects a 10 pence sugar tax had on sales of sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Business News

Danone reports accelerated sales growth in Q3, driven by demand for infant formula in China

17 Oct 2017 --- The world’s largest yogurt maker, Danone, has reported better-than-expected Q3 sales results with a 4.7 percent increase, driven by the demand for infant formula and water products specifically in China. The performance came above the company-compiled average of analyst estimates for 2.8 percent growth in group sales. The dairy business improved in the US, where the integration of its acquisition of WhiteWave remained on track. The company also reiterated its full-year guidance. 

Food Ingredients News

Brabender GlutoPeak optimizes receipt of goods at Wiesneth Muehle

17 Oct 2017 --- In the milling industry, being able to determine the quality of raw materials is fundamental. Being able to test them is an essential task. Wiesneth Mühle GmbH in Franconian Pommersfelden, Germany, has taken its quality management to the next level, at the same time introducing a time-efficient system.

Regulatory News

DSM: 47 percent of consumers are more concerned about sugar consumption than 3 years ago

16 Oct 2017 --- DSM has published a new report in its Global Insight Series focusing on consumer attitudes and behavior around the labeling of sugar content. The report, based on an international survey, shows that concern about sugar is on the rise globally, with nearly half of all consumers saying they are more concerned about overall sugar consumption than they were three years ago. In most countries, label reading has become the norm with more than 50 percent of global consumers say they check the sugar content of foods before they buy.

More Articles