HEALTH chiefs have played down the threat from an insecticide used in continental egg farms.

Yet supermarkets have been forced to withdraw food products over fears that they may have been contaminated with poisonous Fipronil.

The insecticide, which is used to kill lice and ticks on animals, is believed to have been used in egg farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.

Eggs from the farms have been contaminated with fipronil, it has been found.

The EU had previously banned the food industry from using the substance.

If consumed in large doses, fipronil can cause damage to people’s liver, kidneys and thyroid glands.

The government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) believe that as many as 700,000 contaminated eggs could have been brought into the UK.

They said affected eggs would have been used in processed foods, such as sandwich fillings, where they have been mixed with eggs from other European countries.

The effect of the contaminated eggs would have been heavily diluted, the FSA said.

A spokesman said: “It remains the case that it is very unlikely that there is any risk to public health from consuming these foods.”

However, the FSA have withdrawn multiple products from supermarket shelves.

The withdrawn products, the pack size and use-by dates are:

By Sainsbury’s ham and egg salad – 240g – 9-14 August

By Sainsbury’s potato and egg salad – 300g – 9-14 August

Morrison’s potato and egg salad – 250g – 13 August

Morrisons egg and cress sandwich – sold in Morrisons Cafe only – 11 August

Morrisons Cafe sandwich selection – sold in Morrisons Cafe only – 11 August

Waitrose free-range egg mayonnaise deli filler – 240g – 13-16 August

Waitrose free-range reduced fat egg mayonnaise deli filler – 170g – 14 August

Waitrose free-range egg and bacon deli filler – 170g – 14-16 August

Asda Baby potato and free-range egg salad – 270g – 9-14 August

Asda spinach and free-range egg snack pot – 110g – 9-13 August

Asda FTG ham and cheddar ploughman’s salad bowl – 320g – 9-13 August

The FSA reassured shoppers that there is no evidence that eggs laid in the UK have been contaminated with Fipronil – although farm tests are currently being carried out.

Swindon shop owners said that the scare showed the benefit of buying from local, British suppliers.

Andrena Rhodes, co-owner of the Wood Street Food Hall, said: “Our eggs come from Beechwood Farm, near Newbury.

“All our suppliers are local and we can source our food straight back to the farm. That’s the great thing about using British produce.”

Kris Talikowski, owner of The Core juice bar, added: “We get our produce from as local and as ethical sources as possible. That then means you have real control.”