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expert reaction to fipronil-contaminated egg scandal in Europe

A number of countries in Europe have received eggs contaminated with the insecticide fipronil.


Prof. Chris Elliott, Chair of Food Safety, Queen’s University Belfast, said:

“The fipronil scandal continues to grow, not only in Europe but in many parts of the world.  The new list of product withdrawals in the UK must be based on new information the FSA has received in terms of where contaminated eggs have entered the UK food system from the Dutch authorities.  None of these products are a risk in terms of food safety and the withdrawals are due to technical infringements of EU law.  This scandal is yet another example of how difficult it is to trace food products containing contaminated ingredients due to the complexity of the present day food supply system.”


Prof. Alan Boobis, Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology, Imperial College London, said:

“Fipronil has been found in egg in some processed foods in the UK.  However, even at the maximum level found, high level consumers of egg-containing products would not exceed levels considered acceptable by EFSA.

“Even when taken deliberately at several thousand times the maximum amount likely to be consumed from contaminated egg products, the individuals survived with no long term harm.

“EFSA and the FSA are monitoring the situation carefully.  Based on the extent of contamination found and the amount of egg products that have reached the UK market, there is no reason for consumers to be concerned.”


Dr Crispin Halsall, Reader in Environmental Chemistry, Lancaster University, said:

“To put this in perspective, dog-owners using over the counter flea-treatments are more likely to be exposed to fipronil than consumers of egg-containing foods, especially if dog-owners don’t follow precautions and wash their hands after application of the product.”




All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


Declared interests

Prof. Chris Elliott: “No declarations of interest.”

Prof. Alan Boobis: “I have no financial interest in fipronil.  I am involved in a number of collaborations that are developing generic risk assessment methodology, including ILSI HESI, ILSI Europe, WHO IPCS.  This work is not remunerated.  I am also chair of the UK Committee on Toxicity and a member of the WHO/FAO JECFA (veterinary residues) and JMPR, the last having reviewed fipronil in the past.”

Dr Crispin Halsall: “I have no interests to declare and do not receive any funding from veterinary pharmaceutical companies or any pharmaceutical companies.”

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