Supermarkets have been accused of having double standards on egg sourcing following the recall of products sold in UK stores over fears of fipronil contamination.
Sandwiches sold in Morrisons’ in-store cafés are among the products to have today been pulled from sale after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) revealed close to 700,000 eggs contaminated with fipronil have been distributed in the UK – not 21,000 as originally thought.
The FSA said the decision to withdraw these products (see full list below) was not due to food safety concerns but because fipronil, an insecticide, is not authorised for use in food-producing animals.
“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,” said FSA chairman Heather Hancock. “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.”
British Lion Egg Processors criticised the buying policies of supermarkets following today’s announcement.
“The major retailers are operating to double standards when it comes to eggs,” said British Lion Egg Processors chairman Ian Jones. “All of them stock British Lion shell eggs but they use imported eggs in many of their other foods containing eggs.”
British Lion Eggs added that all major UK retailers stock British Lion shell eggs to sell at retail, and that tests had shown that there is no risk from British eggs.
The trade body called on food manufacturers to reconsider their egg sourcing following the fipronil contamination.
It said independent research, commissioned by British Lion Eggs, showed consumers were concerned that foreign eggs were being used in the prepared foods they buy, with 70% saying they expected prepared foods containing eggs to show the eggs’ country of origin on-pack.
“As we approach Brexit, shoppers are growing increasingly concerned about the ingredients used in manufactured food and now more than ever want and deserve transparency on food packaging,” added Jones.
“The egg industry believes that this is a great opportunity for retailers to listen to the concerns of their customers and reassure them by specifying the use of British eggs and using the ‘Made with British Lion eggs’ logo on packs.”
List of withdrawn products are as follows:
• 240g Sainsbury’s Ham and Egg Salad, 9-14 August use-by date
• 300g Sainsbury’s Potato and Egg Salad, 9-14 August use-by date
• 250g Morrison’s Potato and Egg Salad, use by up to 13 August
• Morrisons Cafe Egg and Cress Sandwich, use by up to and including 11 August
• Morrisons Café Sandwich selection, use by up to and including 11 August
• 240g Waitrose Free Range Egg Mayonnaise Deli Filler, 13 & 16 August
• 170g Waitrose Free Range Reduced Fat Egg Mayonnaise Deli Filler, use-by 14 August
• 170g Waitrose Free Range Egg and Bacon Deli Filler, use-by 14 & 16 August
• 270g Asda Baby Potato and Free Range Egg Salad, use-by 9-14 August
• 110g Asda Spinach and Free Range egg snack pot, use by 9-13 August
• 320g Asda FTG Ham and Cheddar ploughman’s salad bowl, use-by 9-13 August