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German dioxin eggs used in food products sold in Wales; FOOD AGENCY PLAYS DOWN RISKS TO HEALTH FROM AFFECTED LINES.

Byline: SIMON GASKELL

FOOD containing contaminated liquid eggs was distributed by a Welsh food company and sold in major supermarkets.

Cardiff-based Memory Lane Cakes was yesterday named as one of two manufacturers which used pasteurised liquid egg contaminated with dioxins in short shelf life products supplied to the UK's largest supermarkets.

The liquid egg came from a 14-tonne shipment which originated on continental Europe and entered the UK destined for use in goods like pastries and mayonnaise, the European Union said.

Dioxins are toxic compounds, mainly the by-products of industrial processes like smelting, and have caused a wide range of effects in certain animals, including cancer and damage to the immune system. The alert came after it was discovered that poultry feed contaminated by dioxins were sent to more than 1,000 farms in Germany, where eggs had dioxin levels five times the legal limit.

Some eggs from those farms were then transported to the Netherlands, where they were mixed with other, non-contaminated eggs.

But it was said that the health risk posed was minute because the eggs were mixed with unaffected eggs and diluted further in cooking.

The Food Standards Agency 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. There is no food safety risk from eating these products."

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 discovered this week when German officials said 3,000 tonnes of feed were affected.

Germany has closed more than 4,700 farms as a result of the scare.

Most of the products containing the egg had a short shelf life and most products would have been eaten by now or be getting close to their sell-by date.

But despite the minimal risk, some supermarkets were removing remaining products yesterday.

The FSA added: "The majority of products will have been sold and most have passed their 'use by' or 'best before' dates. Supermarkets are removing the small amounts of products that are still in date."

Cornwall's Kensey Foods was the other company which distributed food containing the egg, alongside Cardiff's Memory Lane Cakes.

Memory Lane sells a range of premium cakes and children's party cakes. A statement from the Finsbury Food Group - which owns Memory Lane - said: "Finsbury Food has been notified that one of the company's sites has received a batch of liquid egg containing a small percentage of eggs originating from a farm in Germany, potentially affected by a dioxin contaminated feed incident. The FSA is advising that there is no risk to health, and the company has had no confirmation that the batch of egg is contaminated with dioxin or at what level. This egg has been used to make a number of products. Finsbury is currently undertaking traceability tests and is working with both customers and the FSA with the ensuing investigation."

The FSA said it did not have a "definitive list" of the supermarkets which sold the products, but Tesco and Morrisons were two of them.

David Nieberg, from Tesco, said: "Tesco is withdrawing a small number of products. We would like to stress to customers that this is a purely precautionary measure and the FSA has stated there is no food safety risk."

No one from Morrisons was available for comment.

THE TESCO PRODUCTS AFFECTED It only affects the date codes listed. No other date codes are affected. Tesco Caterpillar Cake - Best Before 10/01/11 Tesco Coconut Sponge 5.5in - Best Before 15/01/11 Tesco Raspberry Sponge 5.5- Best Before 07/01/11 Tesco Value Raspberry Sponge 5.5in - Best Before 13/01/11, 15/01/11 Tesco Vanilla Party Tray Bake - Best Before 11/01/11 Tesco Christmas Chocolate Tray Bake - Best Before 07/01/11 Tesco Chocolate Sponge Cake - Best Before 10/01/11, 15/01/11 Tesco Victoria Sponge Cake - Best Before 12/01/11, 13/01/11, 15/01/11

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Contaminated liquid eggs from German farms found their way into the British food chain, but experts have played down health risks
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 8, 2011
Words:717
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