Around 700,000 eggs potentially contaminated with the pesticide Fipronil have been imported into Britain from Dutch farms, according to the Food Standards Agency.
Foods containing egg have been recalled from supermarkets, although some of the affected eggs may have already made their way into the food chain.
The contaminated eggs originate from around 180 farms in the Netherlands that bought poultry from a supplier which used an illegal insecticide to treat red mite in chickens. The chemical, Fipronil, is not authorised for use as a pesticide around food-producing animals as it can make its way into milk and eggs.
Credit: Tom Ipri (Creative Commons)
So far, eggs containing the chemical have been found in 15 EU countries and Hong Kong. The EU Commission will hold a meeting with ministers and regulators on 26 September.
There has been a row over how long Belgian and Dutch authorities have known about the contamination, but the commission's food safety chief has called countries to stop 'blaming and shaming' each other.
"Blaming and shaming will bring us nowhere and I want to stop this," Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said in a statement.
"But first things first. Our common job and our priority now is to manage the situation, gather information, focus on the analysis and lessons to be learned in a view to improve our system and prevent criminal activity."
Two people have been arrested in Belgium and the Netherlands in connection to the contamination.
Around 700,000 affected eggs could have been shipped to the UK, but the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it was very unlikely that there was a risk to public health.
The FSA also said it had no evidence that eggs laid in the UK are contaminated or that Fipronil has been used inappropriately here.
A spokesperson for the British Egg Industry Council said: "British egg producers have reiterated the need for consumers and food producers to look for British Lion eggs and egg products."
Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: "I'm confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do.
"The number of eggs involved is small in proportion to the number of eggs we eat, and it is very unlikely that there is a risk to public health.
"Based on the available evidence there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs.
"However, Fipronil is not legally allowed for use near food-producing animals and it shouldn't be there."
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