EU Science Hub

Fipronil in eggs: Factsheet – December 2017

News about the so-called 'FIPRONIL case' has received widespread media coverage, causing one of the most significant food scares in Europe since the 2013 'horse meat scandal' and leading to a judiciary enquiry and withdrawal of millions of eggs from supermarket shelves. The 'FIPRONIL case' is linked to the discovery of the insecticide in contaminated eggs and egg products in several EU Member States and outside Europe. FIPRONIL is authorised to be used as veterinary medicine to combat fleas, mites and ticks in dogs and cats but forbidden for use in animals that are intended for the food chain, such as chickens. The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, communicated that 26 of the 28 EU Member States reported the presence of FIPRONIL in eggs and egg products, with more than 45 countries affected worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Israel and Canada. To avoid contaminated food products entering into the food chain, food safety authorities of EU Member States ensure that eggs, egg products or chicken meat from affected farms are neither placed on the EU market nor exported to non EU-countries. In order to enssure adequate control, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) was requested to offer support in assessing the competence of the official laboratories in quantifying FIPRONIL as specified in the EU legislation.