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Tesco recalls sponge cakes over egg fears

TESCO has withdrawn some sponge cakes from Irish stores over fears they were made with dioxin-laced eggs.

The move follows a food scare which originated in Germany and saw contaminated liquid eggs exported from there to Britain.

The supermarket chain said it was withdrawing a range of six products made with liquid eggs contaminated with dioxins -- but stressed this was purely on a precautionary basis as safety watchdogs had confirmed there was no health risk to humans in the quantities involved.

However consumers who had purchased any of the items concerned could return the cakes for a refund, a spokesman said.

Dioxins are toxic industrial chemicals and can be dangerous at certain levels, causing cancer, developmental and reproductive problems.

It emerged this week that 3,000 tonnes of contaminated feed had been sent to German pig and poultry farms, with around 14 tonnes of contaminated liquid eggs from these farms then exported to Britain.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland confirmed, however, that consumers in Ireland were not at risk from the contaminated eggs involved that were used in Britain to make other food products.

This was because they would have been mixed with other non-contaminated eggs and become so diluted that they did not pose any risk.

"The mixing of the eggs will have diluted the levels of dioxins to below legal limits and they would not be a risk to consumers' health," the FSAI said.

It had not instructed Tesco to remove the cakes from sale as the absence of a health risk meant it was a commercial decision for the retailer.

No other retailer in Ireland had traced any products to the contaminated batch of eggs, an FSAI spokesperson said.

The sponge cakes withdrawn are: Tesco Caterpillar Cake (Best before 10.01.11, 11.01.11); Tesco Party Tray Bake (Best Before 7.01.11 to 10.01.11); Tesco Coconut Sponge (Best Before 12.01.11, 15.01.11); Tesco Raspberry Sponge (Best Before 10.01.11, 13.01.11); Tesco Value Raspberry Sponge (Best Before 12.01.11, 13.01.11, 15.01.11); Tesco Vanilla Party Tray Bake (Best Before 07.01.11, 10.01.11, 11.01.11).