Dioxin eggs 'used in UK products'

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Cakes and quiches sold in supermarkets may have contained eggs contaminated with dioxins, it has been reported.

Cakes and quiches sold in high street supermarkets are the UK foods containing liquid eggs contaminated with dioxins, it has been reported.

Two British manufacturers used the egg to make products for UK retailers, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) told BBC Radio 4’s You And Yours. The products had a short shelf life and may well have been eaten by now, or would be getting close to their sell-by dates, the programme said.

However, the FSA emphasised that the mixing of the eggs would have diluted the levels of dioxins and there is not thought to be a risk to health.

Fourteen tons of the contaminated liquid egg which originated on continental Europe has entered the UK destined for use in goods like pastries and mayonnaise, the EU executive said. The alert came after it was discovered that poultry feed contaminated by toxic dioxins was sent to more than 1,000 poultry and pig farms in Germany. Some of the eggs from those farms were then transported to Holland.

The FSA said: “These eggs were mixed with other non-contaminated eggs to make pasteurised liquid egg. This pasteurised liquid egg has been distributed to the UK. The mixing of the eggs will have diluted the levels of dioxins and they are not thought to be a risk to health.The FSA is currently liaising with the industry and will provide further updates as information becomes available.”

European Commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent described how the problem had now reached Britain.

“Those eggs were… processed and then exported to the United Kingdom… as a 14-tonne consignment of pasteurised product for consumption,” he told reporters. “Whether it went into mayonnaise, pastries, I don’t know. So we will probably take a look at this with the UK authorities and see what was done with these eggs.”

The problem appears to have originated when oils intended for bio-fuel became mixed with oil destined for animal feed.

The dioxin was discovered in late December but the extent of the problem was only revealed this week when German officials said 3,000 tonnes of feed were affected. Germany has stopped more than 4,700 farms selling their meat and eggs as a result of the scare.

Dioxins are chemicals formed by industrial processes and waste burning. They have been shown to contribute to higher cancer rates and affect pregnant women.

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