Investigators search for eggs contaminated with fipronil

'Very small number'The Food Standards Agency (FSA) issues a statement this week saying that "a very small number" of eggs from the affected farms had reached the UK.

Eggs contaminated with an insecticide called fipronil have been discovered in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain and France.

Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, among other retailers, have recalled the likes of mayonnaise, salads and sandwiches following the news, The Independent reports.

It comes after the agency said on Monday that a "very small number" of eggs distributed in Britain were believed to be from affected farms and that the risk to the public was "very low".

"Fipronil is an insecticide that is found in veterinary products used for pet animals", running, ticks and mites.

It was previously reported that Fipronil was introduced by a Dutch company that provided sanitary services to breeders in Belgium and Netherlands, EU's biggest egg producer, who were not aware of the violations.

Luxembourg became the latest European country hit by a scare over tainted eggs, with a major supermarket chain pulling them from the shelves and other firms affected, authorities said Thursday.

Fipronil is banned in products used around food-producing animals. "The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland are committed to ensuring that food is safe, and that United Kingdom consumers have food they can trust". Based on the available evidence there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs.

Authorities suspect Belgian company Poultry Vision of producing a fipronil-laced treatment created to kill mites in chickens.

In large quantities, fipronil, is considered to be "moderately hazardous" according to the World Health Organisation, and can have unsafe affects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

These operations occur while the crisis of contaminated eggs continues to be of concern to the health authorities in Europe, even if the risks to the health of the consumer is a priori limited.

A major product recall in now underway in the United Kingdom off the back of the British Food Standards Agency's announcement about the levels of contamination there. Last Friday, it said there was no evidence the United Kingdom was affected at all.

The Belgian Federal Police on Thursday conducted eight raids in Belgium in connection with the investigation into the contamination of eggs, said the Antwerp public prosecutor's office.

The insecticide Fipronil, found in the eggs, can be harmful to humans if consumed in large doses.

Authorities in the Netherlands ordered eggs pulled from supermarket shelves, and temporarily closed down about 180 farms.

  • Jon Douglas