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Information note on EU measures concerning the illegal use of fipronil on some poultry farms (10 August 2017)

date:  11/08/2017

The European Commission was informed on 20 July 2017 through the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) that a service treatment company used illegal treatments against red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) on poultry farms, mainly laying hen farms. Actions were immediately taken to control the situation, and investigations on the ground continue.

These illegal treatments contained the substance fipronil which is prohibited in the EU for all food-producing animals*. The affected poultry farms were mainly located in the Netherlands and Belgium but four farms in Germany and one farm in France are also concerned. All farms which have been treated by the service treatment company since January 2017 have been immediately blocked by the competent authorities of the concerned Member States and eggs/chicken meat from these farms can no longer be placed on the EU market nor exported to non EU-countries. A judicial investigation is ongoing.

Official samples of eggs and/or chicken meat from the affected farms are being analysed for the possible presence of residues of fipronil.

The affected farms will only be unblocked once there is evidence that the eggs and chicken meat coming from these farms are fully compliant with the EU maximum residue levels and relevant sanitary requirements.

Non-compliant eggs and poultry meat already placed on the market or exported before the blocking of the farms, have been recalled from the EU market and the concerned non-EU countries have been and will continue to be informed via the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF system), if non-compliant poultry products have been exported.

Concerning processed products, EU food business operators have the legal obligation to ensure that the ingredients/raw materials used for the production of food is compliant with EU legislation, including for export to non-EU countries. Therefore, the food business operator must ensure that the eggs/chicken meat used for the production of food is compliant with the EU maximum residue levels on fipronil and sanitary requirements.

EU Member States' competent authorities are continuing their investigations and the European Commission will update this information note in light of relevant new developments and inform EU trade partners accordingly on possible non compliance cases.

* The maximum  residue levels (MRLs) for fipronil is legally fixed by the EU[1] at 0.005 mg/kg in both chicken eggs and chicken meat (0.005 mg/kg being the lower limit of analytical determination, as no residues are expected to be detected given the prohibition of fipronil in poultry farms).

[1]  EU Regulation (EC) 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin for fipronil (sum of fipronil + sulfone metabolite expressed as fipronil)