Level of fipronil in eggs pose no health problems

Thanks to the mandatory self-control system and to the obligation for enterprises to officially communicate non-conform results, Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) discovered the illegal use of fipronil for the treatment of red lice in poultry farms, following the notification in June 2017 of the presence of this substance in an egg sample taken by a food business operator. The investigation was carried out by FASFC in close collaboration with the Department of Justice.

Fipronil is an insecticide applied when controlling lice, mites and other invertebrate parasites on domestic animals. The substance can be allowed in the food chain as a plant protection product. It is not approved for use as biocide for stables or on animals intended for the food chain. It now appears that fipronil was used in the poultry sector when controlling red mites in laying hens. Using the product in this context is not allowed. Its use is clearly fraudulent.

Following FASFC’s investigation, all 86 suspected poultry farms in Belgium were blocked, inspected and samples were taken. These establishments have only been released in case of compliant analysis results which means they are below the maximum residue level (MRL) of 0.005 mg/kg of egg samples.

In addition, the FASFC also carries out a monitoring in all non-suspected layer farms and in egg processing plants and slaughterhouses. In case the MRL is exceeded or in case analyses carried out have a measurement uncertainty, the precautionary principle is applied, and eggs and egg products are immediately withdrawn from the market.

Eggs which are on the market are safe for consumers. Based on EU standards (Acute Reference Dose), it can be concluded that the fipronil concentrations found do not pose any health problems.

You can find more information about the ongoing investigation and the measures that are taken on the English website of FASFC (http://www.favv.be/home-en/)