SHOPKEEPERS and restaurateurs have sung the praises of local food producers.

It comes as a Europe-wide egg scandal has seen ready-meal products stripped from supermarket shelves.

Poisonous insecticide fipronil was used in egg farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, it was revealed this week. The chemical is used to kill lice and ticks on animals.

Eggs from those farms have been found to contain traces of the dangerous substance. Up to 700,000 contaminated eggs could have been imported into the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned.

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

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 shopkeepers and restaurant-owners have said that the crisis shows the importance of buying from local, British farms.

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.”

Tim Finney manages Helen Browning's Organics restaurants the Royal Oak, Bishopstone, and Helen Browning's Chop House in Old Town. The restaurants use meat and eggs grown on organic Eastbrook Farm, south east of Swindon.

"We haven't got massive egg laying sheds. All our birds are free range. We have to be extremely careful about how we use cleaning products.

"Farming [organically] doesn't allow issues like that [the fipronil scare] to arise."

The restaurant director said that his customers could taste the difference between his organic meat and eggs and other produce.

"I serve eggs for breakfast in our pub and hotel seven days a week. People say, 'wow, look at the colour of the yolk.' These hens we own tend to eat grass."

There is no suggestion that fresh eggs sold on supermarket shelves are contaminated with fipronil.

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, including a Waitrose free-range egg mayonnaise sandwich filler and Sainsbury's ham and egg salad.

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