Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2017

FSA News Item, 17 August 2017

EGGS – FSA: Update on Fipronil in eggs

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 In most cases the identified products were past their expiry date but those remaining are being withdrawn immediately.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very quickly to any new information, to ensure that any products left that contain egg from the affected farms is withdrawn immediately.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."

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