[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (10)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (30)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (7)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (22)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (5)
    • Children (30)
    • Children/Schools (222)
    • Climate Change (40)
    • Clover (1)
    • contamination (80)
    • Environmental Justice (118)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (151)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (127)
    • Fertilizer (4)
    • Forestry (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (5)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (59)
    • International (304)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (195)
    • Litigation (294)
    • Microbiata (6)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (135)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (1)
    • Pesticide Regulation (692)
    • Pesticide Residues (150)
    • Pets (18)
    • Preemption (20)
    • Resistance (83)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • synergistic effects (1)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (2)
    • Take Action (451)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (564)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (342)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

16
Aug

Millions of Eggs in Europe Found Contaminated with Insecticide Fipronil

EU(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2017) Millions of eggs and egg products have been pulled from supermarket shelves in 15 countries in Europe after it was discovered that the eggs were contaminated with the insecticide fipronil. Now,  the European Commissioner in charge of food safety has called for a meeting of ministers and national regulatory agencies to discuss the widespread European contamination. However, fipronil is not allowed for use in food production in Europe, raising concerns over food safety and regulatory oversight.

This incident reminds U.S. consumers about the disarray of the U.S. food safety system, as reported by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2014. According to the GAO report, Food Safety: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations, there is a lack of government coordination on food safety and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test food for several commonly used pesticides with established tolerance levels. The report sounds an alarm that GAO began sounding  in the 1980’s in several reports that identify shocking limitations of  FDA’s approach to monitoring for pesticide residue violations in food. (See Beyond Pesticides’ coverage.) Since that report, FDA announced, then withdrew its announcement, then re-announced that it would begin testing for glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide that is showing up in numerous food groups in the U.S. and worldwide.

One hundred and eighty Dutch farms have been temporarily closed after the Dutch food safety authority announced that it discovered tens of thousands of eggs contaminated with fipronil. The eggs mostly originated from the Netherlands, where, like the rest of the European Union (EU), the insecticide fipronil is used to kill lice and ticks on animals, but banned for use in food production. However, preliminary investigations find the insecticide was used on chicken farms. According to reports, both Dutch and Belgian authorities may have known about the egg contamination two months ago, but news of the contamination only broke last week. Dutch authorities have since arrested two directors of the company at the center of the safety scare, with prosecutors saying they are being held on suspicion of threatening public health and possession of a prohibited pesticide. Countries that have received the fipronil-laced eggs include Britain, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Denmark —along with non-EU Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Major German retailers, including Lidl and Aldi, have pulled the eggs off their shelves, and authorities are testing other products made with eggs –such as pasta, mayonnaise, and cakes. In the UK, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and ASDA are also recalling egg products. Now the EU is convening a meeting before the end of September of the ministers concerned, along with various national food safety agency representatives.

Most of the eggs have already been eaten, and health authorities are downplaying potential health risks from ingesting fipronil. Fipronil is a broad spectrum insecticide used to control common insects (ants, roaches, termites, etc). This insecticide is neurotoxic, and symptoms of exposure include headache, nausea, dizziness, and weakness –typically associated with neurological interference in the brain. Fipronil is also an endocrine disruptor and can disrupt thyroid function. It is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Group C (Possible Human) carcinogen. The World Health Organization (WHO) regards fipronil as “moderately toxic” to humans, and can, in large quantities, damage kidney, liver or thyroid gland. The Dutch advisory warns consumers to avoid eating eggs with the code 2-NL-4015502, as the fipronil levels are so high it poses a health hazard. Standard preparations such as washing, cooking, or baking do not remove fipronil from the egg.

The widespread egg contamination in Europe raises questions about lax regulatory oversight in food production, particularly livestock. Poultry farming is rife with meat and egg contamination of a host of substances, including antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides, all used to stem outbreaks of disease and ill health among animals kept under deplorable conditions. Even though certain substances are given government approval for use, many cut corners and skirt regulations, as evidenced by the fipronil contamination in Europe. Food contamination is a serious threat to public health and more oversight is needed to ensure that the food supply is safe and free from toxic agents that can potentially harm not only livestock, but humans as well.

A good way to avoid toxic contaminants in eggs is to buy organic eggs. Organic production does not allow the use of toxic insecticides like fipronil. All inputs into organic egg production must be an approved part of the producer’s organic system plan, and organic chickens are required to have access to the outdoors, although Beyond Pesticides is pushing for stronger standards that require pasturing of chickens.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Reuters

Share

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (10)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (30)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (7)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (22)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (5)
    • Children (30)
    • Children/Schools (222)
    • Climate Change (40)
    • Clover (1)
    • contamination (80)
    • Environmental Justice (118)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (151)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (127)
    • Fertilizer (4)
    • Forestry (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (5)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (59)
    • International (304)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (195)
    • Litigation (294)
    • Microbiata (6)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (135)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (1)
    • Pesticide Regulation (692)
    • Pesticide Residues (150)
    • Pets (18)
    • Preemption (20)
    • Resistance (83)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • synergistic effects (1)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (2)
    • Take Action (451)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (564)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (342)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts