01.08.2017 / Update 09.08.2017

Eggs contaminated with fipronil recalled – take precautions

In the Netherlands, several million eggs were recalled from sale. The reason for this was contamination with the insecticide fipronil, which is used against fleas, lice, ticks, cockroaches and mites, amongst other pests. Furthermore, more than ten million of the affected eggs were delivered to Germany. In the interim, ALDI removed the eggs entirely from sale – the only supermarket chain to do so.

Contamination far in excess of permitted maximum levels

The contamination of eggs with the insecticide was first reported by Belgium through the European RASFF portal, with fipronil content measured at between 0.0031 and 1.2 mg/kg. For eggs, the permitted maximum residue levels with respect to fipronil and its metabolite fipronil sulfone are 0.005 mg/kg. In addition, analyses of chicken meat have reported fipronil content at 0.0015 to 0.0156 mg/kg (see BfR statement No. 016/2017, 30th July 2017).

Health risk for children cannot be ruled out

In its statement, having evaluated various food consumption models, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung BfR) came to the conclusion that there was no reason to believe that the acute reference dose (ARfD) of 0.009 mg/kg body weight for adults had been exceeded. Only in the case of children - and with reference to the British consumption model – would the ARfD have been exceeded due to chicken eggs. According to the BfR, this does not necessarily constitute a concrete threat to health, but rather indicates that a health threat to children is a possibility. The calculated maximum concentration in chicken eggs which allows the possibility of an acute health risk to be excluded for all user groups would be 0.72 mg/kg (based on the sum of both fipronil and fipronil sulfone).

Contamination in Germany below the ARfD value to date

In a further statement on the 8th of August 2017, the BfR reported that the fipronil concentrations officially measured in eggs had reached no more than 0.45 mg/kg – meaning that, even in the case of the most vulnerable consumer group (children), the ARfD was not exceeded.

Fipronil determination as a multimethod or a compound-specific method – we can help

Fipronil and fipronil sulfone are components in the QuEChERS multimethod provided by the ifp Institut für Produktqualität. This method analyses for over 600 substances, but we also provide single compound-specific methods. Ring us up or send us an email – together we can find a solution in order to evaluate the fipronil problems which may exist in your supply chain.