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Sunday 22 July 2018

15 EU countries report contaminated eggs, Irish risk to health 'very low'

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A european-wide egg scare continues as 15 different countries report cases of eggs contaminated with a lice insecticide, the European Commission has confirmed.

Some 15 countries in Europe have said they have found eggs containing traces of insecticide, as well as Hong Kong and Switzerland.

The European Commission confirmed that all these countries had received eggs that had traces of the insecticide fipronil. An EU summit to discuss the situation has been called for September. Millions of hens across Europe may be destroyed, while some supermarkets in Europe have taken millions of eggs off their shelves.

However the Irish Food Safety Authority confirmed that in June, very small quantities of boiled eggs were supplied to nine catering outlets in Ireland.

These eggs had a ‘use-by’ date of July 17 and are no longer available. Similarly, in early July, a small quantity of liquid pasteurised egg (with a ‘use-by’ date of July 20) was supplied to a number of food businesses for use in bakery products.

"All of the food businesses concerned have been contacted and any remaining products removed from sale. The number of egg products imported is very small. The risk to consumer health is very low. Nevertheless, the FSAI will continue to trace any distribution in Ireland."

Figures from Bord Bia show that egg imports from the Netherlands were valued at €592,000 last year and volumes of 267 tonnes (product weight).

The World Health Organization considers fipronil to be moderately toxic and says very large quantities can cause organ damage.

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Fipronil is an insecticide which is not permitted for use around food producing animals. Traceability on the eggs from the Netherlands contaminated with Fipronil is continuing.

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