Sunday 25 February 2018

Europe-wide egg scare spreads, but risk here 'very low'

The egg scandal seems to have started in Holland. Stock picture
The egg scandal seems to have started in Holland. Stock picture

Margaret Donnelly and Gavin White

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

But there is no reason for Irish people to be worried, according to the Irish Food Safety Authority (FSAI).

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.

It confirmed that all these countries had received eggs that had traces of the insecticide Fipronil.

An emergency 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.

But the FSAI said the risk to Irish people was "very low" and Ireland imports a "very small" amount of eggs.

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. Nevertheless, the FSAI will continue to trace any distribution in Ireland," its statement read.

IFA poultry chairman Nigel Renaghan has reassured consumers that Irish eggs are unaffected and 100pc safe.

He advised any consumers who are concerned to check for the Bord Bia Quality Assured mark on the pack.

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

It 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.

Irish Independent

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