Around 700,000 eggs containing an insecticide called fipronil made their way into the UK food chain. While these eggs were not sold directly to consumers, they were used to make things like sandwich fillers and salads.
So, what is fipronil? You may be aware that fipronil is a toxic insecticide, often used by vets in getting rid of fleas, ticks and lice. The use of fipronil is banned on animals that are, in any way, destined for human consumption. This includes dairy cows and egg-laying hens.
What are the risks? The World Health Organisation classifies fipronil as ‘moderately dangerous.’ When consumed in large quantities, it can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and thyroid glands. To put this into context, an adult could eat up to seven eggs in a 24-hour period and still be in the safe range.
The Food Standards Agency confirm that the risks are low and there are no major safety concerns but withdrew the affected products from the market due to the fact that fipronil is not authorised for use in food-producing-animals.
In the UK, the regulations and test that all egg farmers are subject to ensures high quality standards. The morale of the story – buy British!