Supermarkets bin products over contaminated eggs scandal

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Supermarkets in the UK have binned products which could contain contaminated eggs, in a scandal which has affected countries across Europe.

Around 700,000 possibly contaminated eggs have gone on sale in the UK - up from an estimated 21,000 - resulting in recalls from four supermarkets.

Millions of eggs have also been pulled from shelves across the continent, including Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.

The eggs are believed to have been tainted with the pesticide Fipronil, used to prevent fleas, ticks and lice infestations.

Fipronil is only thought to pose a low public health risk, while many of the eggs involved were mixed with other eggs to make sandwich fillings, meaning they are highly diluted.

Two people have been arrested in the Netherlands.

Some of the products the eggs went into will have had a short shelf-life, and are likely to have already been consumed, according to the Food Standards Agency.

Any products still being identified at risk will be removed from shelves.

Despite being deemed a low risk to food safety, Fipronil is not authorised for use in food-producing animals.

The FSA said investigations into the incident suggested it was "very unlikely" that the eggs posed a risk to public health when it released a list of processed products being withdrawn "to ensure that consumers are protected".

Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Asda and Waitrose have all been affected by recalls.

The contaminated eggs are thought to have originated from farms in the Netherlands, with two arrests carried out by authorities on Thursday.

While the number of contaminated eggs believed to have made their way to the UK has been revised significantly, around 85% of eggs consumed in the country are laid in Britain.

Currently there is no evidence any British eggs have been contaminated, but testing on UK farms is underway.

The contaminated eggs are believed to have come from Holland. Credit: APTN

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: "I’m confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do.

"The number of eggs involved is small in proportion to the number of eggs we eat, and it is very unlikely that there is a risk to public health.

"Based on the available evidence there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs.

"However, Fipronil is not legally allowed for use near food-producing animals and it shouldn’t be there."

Which products have been withdrawn in the UK?

  • Sainsbury's Ham and Egg Salad 240g (use by 9th-14th August)

  • Sainsbury's Potato and Egg Salad 300g (use by 9th-14th August)

  • Morrisons Egg Potato and Egg Salad 250g (use up to 13th August)

  • Morrisons Egg and Cress Sandwich (sold in cafe up to 11th August)

  • Morrisons Cafe Sandwich Selection (sold in cafe up to 11th August)

  • Waitrose Free Range Egg Mayonnaise Deli Filler 240g (use by 13th-16th August)

  • Waitrose Free Range Reduced Fat Egg Mayonnaise Deli Filler (use by 14th August)

  • Waitrose Free Range Egg and Bacon Deli Filler (use by 14-16th August)

  • Asda Baby Potato and Free Range Egg Salad (use by dates between 9th and 14th August)

  • Asda Spinach and Free Range Egg Snack Pot (use by dates between 9th and 13th August)

  • Asda FTG Ham and Cheddar Ploughman's Salad Bowl (use by dates between 9th and 13th August)