Contaminated eggs have been distributed in UK

Eggs contaminated with a toxic chemical which has resulted in the recall of millions of eggs in mainland Europe have been distributed in the UK, the Food Standards Agency has admitted.

Farms in the Netherlands have been closed after it was found that the chemical was being used.

The agency said that a "very small number of eggs" from farms using Fipronil, which has been used inappropriately in cleaning products on chicken farms, have been distributed to the UK. It said that the number of eggs involved represents about 0.0001 per cent of the eggs imported into the UK each year.

Millions of eggs have been recalled in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany after they were found to contain the toxic insecticide which can cause damage to the liver, thyroid glands and kidneys if ingested in large amounts.

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The FSA said in a statement: "The Food Standards Agency is committed to making sure that food is safe. The number of eggs involved is very small and the risk to public health is very low, but we are urgently investigating the distribution of these eggs in the UK. We are working closely with the businesses that have received eggs from affected farms. Investigations to date indicate that any affected products are no longer on the shelves."

Fipronil is an insecticide used in veterinary products for getting rid of fleas, ticks and lice on animals.

It said there was no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately in the UK farms - where 85 per cent of the eggs consumed in Britain are laid.