Fipronil residues in eggs

Service Description

What is Fipronil?

Fipronil is a pesticide. It is used against fleas, lice, ticks, cockroaches and mites, among other things. It must not be used on food-producing animals (farm animals).

Fipronil is also approved in the EU as an active ingredient for plant protection products. However, no plant protection products containing fipronil are approved in Germany.

Why are eggs contaminated with fipronil?

In Belgium and the Netherlands, egg producers were treated with a product contaminated with the insecticide fipronil for pest control.

According to previous findings, contaminated eggs from the Netherlands reached North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony and were distributed via packing stations there. It is now known that contaminated eggs were delivered to all federal states.

The same company that used the contaminated treatment agent on Dutch farms also treated farms in Germany.

How did fipronil get into the treatment product?

This question is currently being investigated by the prosecution authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands. The preparation Dega-16, which is used to control vermin in poultry, is considered to be the probable trigger. It is suspected that fipronil may have been illegally added to this product as part of its use. The investigations by the competent authorities in Belgium and the Netherlands are still ongoing.

Which eggs are contaminated with fipronil?

There is currently information that eggs from the Netherlands and Germany are affected.

Information on the affected batch numbers and warnings from the federal states can be found on the portal

How can consumers recognize which eggs are contaminated?

The responsible monitoring authorities are recalling the affected batches of eggs and informing the public about the batch numbers. Consumers can use the stamp on each egg to check whether it comes from a contaminated batch.

More information:

What does the code on the egg mean?

Should consumers avoid eating eggs as a precaution? eggs as a precaution?

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), based on the current data (as of August 5, 2017), an acute health risk to the consumer groups under consideration, including children, is unlikely.

According to the BfR, eggs can still be consumed in accordance with the recommendations of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). The DGE recommends up to three eggs a week, including processed eggs. These are guideline values for adults.

What effects can fipronil have on human health?

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, fipronil is acutely toxic in animal experiments if it is swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. The substance is not classified as a skin or eye irritant and does not cause allergic skin reactions.

In animal tests on rats, mice, dogs and rabbits, fipronil has a toxic effect on the nervous system, although these effects diminish in adult animals when they are no longer exposed to the substance. In rats, negative effects on the nervous system are observed in the offspring in a dose-dependent manner if the mother animals have ingested the substance.

In addition, negative effects on the liver are observed in rats and mice. According to current scientific knowledge, fipronil is not classified as mutagenic or carcinogenic.

How many eggs can I eat without exceeding the health guideline value (acute reference dose)?

The health reference value is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the amount of substance per kg body weight that can be ingested with food in one meal or within one day without any discernible risk to the consumer.

In the case of fipronil, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has calculated the following example: At the highest level measured to date in Belgium (not in Germany) of 1.2 mg fipronil/kg egg, a child with a body weight of 16.15 kg can mathematically eat 1.7 eggs (with an egg weight of 70 g) in one day (once or within 24 hours) without exceeding the health guideline value. An adult of 65 kg body weight can therefore eat seven eggs in one day (once or within 24 hours) without exceeding the health guideline value. As long as the estimated maximum intake remains below this value, a health risk is unlikely. A child with a body weight of 10 kg, which corresponds to an age of about one year, can therefore eat one egg per day (once or within 24 hours) without exceeding the health guideline value.

Is there a health risk for pregnant women and the unborn child?

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the health guideline value also includes sensitive population groups such as pregnant women.

What happens if you have already eaten contaminated eggs?

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, exceeding the health guideline value does not necessarily mean a specific health risk, but merely indicates the possibility of a health risk for consumers.

The safety factor between the highest dose in animal studies, at which no significant adverse health effects were observed, and the health guideline value for humans is 100 for fipronil. This means that the dose that did not lead to any adverse health effects in animal studies was divided by 100 in order to achieve an appropriate safety margin for transmission to humans.

Have eggs already been tested for fipronil in the past?

Since 2010, 280,893 test results on fipronil residues have been submitted to the BVL by the competent state authorities. Fipronil was detected in plant-based foods in 338 cases. Fipronil is also an active ingredient in plant protection products. The test results for animal foodstuffs included 171 results for eggs and egg products. No fipronil residues were detected in any of the animal foodstuffs. In 2015, fipronil was monitored in 29 hens' eggs. Fipronil was not detected in any of the samples. Animal feed was also inconspicuous with regard to fipronil in the 2011 to 2016 investigation period.

Is processed food also affected?

According to previous findings, contaminated eggs have also been delivered to processing companies. The monitoring authorities in the federal states are therefore also focusing their investigations on processed foods, and some products have now been recalled.

Does the fipronil content change when the contaminated eggs are processed?

According to current knowledge, fipronil is not degraded by cooking or frying (up to 120 °C for 20 minutes). Therefore, the same fipronil content is currently assumed for processed products as for unprocessed eggs.

Eggs are used in the production of a variety of foodstuffs. The proportion of eggs in the various foodstuffs varies. It can be assumed that the concentration of fipronil is diluted in foods produced with the addition of eggs.

What are the authorities doing to protect consumers?

The responsible monitoring authorities in the federal states are recalling contaminated batches of eggs and informing the public on their own websites and on the portal

A situation center has been set up at the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, where information from the federal states and the European rapid alert system RASFF is collected and evaluated.

The authorities of the member states use the rapid alert system to exchange information on food that is hazardous to health and unfit for sale.

Further information on cooperation between the authorities of the federal states can be found in the brochure "Understanding food safety".

Should consumers tell the authorities where and when they bought eggs with a listed batch number?

No, this is not necessary.

What should consumers do if they have bought contaminated eggs?

Affected batches should either be returned to the retailer or disposed of with household waste.

If a federal state has recalled a batch of eggs, does the recall automatically apply to Germany as a whole? as a whole?

If the product numbers (stamped on the egg) match, the eggs should be returned or disposed of, regardless of the federal state in which they were purchased.

Will all laying hen farms in Germany now be tested for fipronil?

The monitoring authorities of the federal states are concentrating their investigations on egg deliveries from those farms where the fipronil-contaminated product may have been used. In addition, random samples of eggs from other farms are also tested.

Further information

Information from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Thüringen (Linie6PLus)

No competent authority found

Please enter your location.