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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

UAE markets free from contaminated egg-based products

International supermarkets based in the country said their imported products are safe to eat

A poultry farm in Holland that was closed down by Dutch food and product safety board NVWA after fipronil was found in samples of eggs in August. Robin van Lonkhuijsen / AFP
A poultry farm in Holland that was closed down by Dutch food and product safety board NVWA after fipronil was found in samples of eggs in August. Robin van Lonkhuijsen / AFP

Supermarkets in the UAE have assured shoppers their imported products are not made with toxic eggs from the Netherlands.

In August millions of potentially toxic chicken eggs were pulled from European supermarket shelves after the Netherlands warned of possible contamination with the harmful insecticide fipronil.

Last month the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment issued a circular to local food authorities and municipalities to withdraw all eggs imported from the Netherlands to ensure markets throughout the country are free of contaminated eggs.

Trace elements of fipronil — which can cause organ damage in humans — were also found in baked goods such as waffles and frangipane pastries stocked in several European supermarkets. French supermarkets immediately recalled the pastries and other contaminated products listed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Products on the list were produced with egg powder sourced from the Netherlands but were sold in France. However, the French Ministry issued a statement saying the recall was merely a precaution and the levels of trace elements “do not constitute a health hazard for consumers, on the basis of scientific references”.

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Watch: Europe tries to crack the egg scandal

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Ahead of the new school year, parents have expressed concern over imported lunch box favourites sold in supermarkets in the country — such as waffles and brioche buns — containing trace elements of the pesticide.

The National contacted Carrefour Majid Al Futtaim to ask whether the measures taken by Carrefour France were also being implemented in the brand's supermarkets across the UAE and if their imported pastries — which are a staple in many households in the country — are safe for consumption.

A spokesperson from the hypermarket said "no eggs from the Netherlands or Belgium are sold in Carrefour stores nationwide, or indeed in the GCC".

She said all Carrefour branded fresh eggs are sourced from France and therefore "unaffected by the circular raised by the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment".

The spokesperson also confirmed that "none of the other food products Carrefour sells contain egg products originating from the countries mentioned in the circular.”

A representative from Spinneys supermarket — which stocks Lotus waffles — said they also do not stock products made with contaminated eggs: "we are aware of this issue and are monitoring it closely. We don't have any affected Belgian products in store".

The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and the Dubai Municipality have not yet responded for comment.

*Additional reporting by Haneen Dajani

Watch: Europe tries to crack the egg scandal