Up to three-quarters of a million eggs eaten every day contain residues of a toxic drug that is widely used by intensive poultry farmers, according to a new report published this week by the Soil Association.
The UK's leading organic organisation announced in a statement that it is calling for an immediate ban on lasalocid, found in 2.6 per cent of chicken eggs as well as in chicken meat. Lasalocid has also been found in 60 per cent of the quails eggs tested by the Government's Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
Alison Craig, the report's author said: "Even low levels of lasalocid are dangerous to mammals and this raises concerns about how toxic the drug is to humans. We know that this drug hangs around in the body, so we could be accumulating it every time we eat eggs or chicken. The Government's testing programme for such residues is wholly inadequate -only one out of every 18 million eggs is analysed."
In a statement the Soil Association stated that although consumers are theoretically protected from veterinary drugs residues by maximum residue limits set by the European Commission because lasalocid is classified as a feed additive, no limit has been set.
Daily doses of lasalocid are routinely given to chickens and turkeys in their feed as a preventative treatment against coccidiosis - an infectious disease caused by a parasite which damages the birds' intestines and causes illness and sometimes death. Lasalocid is not prescribed by vets but sold as a feed additive directly to producers by pharmaceutical companies and feed merchants.