Fipronil in your breakfast - eggs & honey?

The scandal over contaminated eggs in European countries is growing. The Federal Institute for risk assessment (BfR) in Berlin is reporting analysis results of fipronil levels in a range from 0.0031 to 1.2 mg per kg in chicken eggs, which is a health risk for children.

Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide used against fleas, lice, ticks, cockroaches, mites and other insects. The World Health Organization considers fipronil to be "moderately toxic" to humans. In large quantities, it can damage the liver, kidneys and thyroid gland. Fipronil is also dangerous for honey bees and other endangered insects, to help protect these insects the use of fipronil on corn seeds has long been prohibited. The European regulations for the use of fipronil was adjusted on January 1st this year and Fipronil is now banned from being used in pesticides in high concentrations. Although Fipronil should not be used anywhere near animals in the food production chain, it was discovered being used at a chicken farm used to produce eggs.

To protect customers from the toxic fipronil, many supermarkets and food retailers have started removing all eggs from their shelves. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority (NVWA) has temporarily closed down about 180 Dutch poultry farms where the fipronil content in eggs was so high that consumption poses an “acute danger to public health”.  Although there is also concern over other products such as mayonnaise, pancakes, pasta, or even salads containing eggs. The NVWA has however suggested that consumption of processed food products should not pose a health risk because, in many of these cases the fipronil will be strongly diluted in the final product. Consumers, however, are still are concerned about fipronil in food and strict control is required.

Shimadzu has developed an ultra-sensitive and rapid assay for the detection of fipronil and some metabolites in food such as honey and more. The LCMS-8060 application is based on QuEChERS sample generation. 

For more information and to download the poster and application note, please visit

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