The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its analysis of food data collected after the widespread detection of fipronil residues in eggs last summer.  Millions of European eggs were withdrawn from the marketplace because of  contamination from the use of the toxic insecticide Fipronil that was used as a cleaning agent and sanitizer known as “Dega 16.”

Egg producers in Holland and Belgium were using the Fipronil mix to clean hen houses.

As a result, EU Member States submitted to EFSA the results of more than 5,000 samples of eggs and chicken collected between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2017. The samples were analyzed for fipronil and other active substances specified by the European Commission. The analysis showed that 742 of the samples contained residues in quantities exceeding legal limits, almost all related to Fipronil. The majority of high levels were found in suspect samples – those derived from products or producers where illegal use was known or assumed.

Products exceeding legal limits originated from eight Member States – the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, France, Slovenia, and Greece.

The food products affected were mainly unprocessed chicken eggs and fat of laying hens. Some exceedances were reported for muscle laying hens and egg powder.

The report has been shared with risk managers at EU and Member State level.

The detection of fipronil residues in eggs by Belgian authorities in July 2017 led to millions of eggs being withdrawn from the market in the European Union. The contamination was caused by illegal use of non-approved veterinary medicinal products in poultry farms.

In Europe, Fipronil had led to the recall of more than 20 million eggs from as far away as Hong Kong and Taipei. At least one cleaning company used the insecticide to combat red mite infestations.

European food safety agencies also recalled at least 39 products made with eggs because of the concern over Fipronil.

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