Skip to main content
EU Science Hub
News article12 June 20201 min read

New Certified Reference Material for fipronil in egg

The JRC sent egg samples to 85 European laboratories
© Flickr, Kevin Choi, 2017

The JRC produced a new Certified Reference Material (CRM) for analysis of fipronil in egg powder. This will help food control laboratories to ensure the quality of their analyticial results and guarantee food safety.

In 2017, due to the detection of fipronil, millions of eggs were taken off the European market. This was done after notifications in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the European Commission. This public health crisis affected most of the EU countries and 19 non-EU countries.

As an immediate response, the JRC organised a proficiency test to assess the competence of European Union (EU) National Reference Laboratories (NRLs), EU Official Control Laboratories (OCLs) and OCLs from associated countries for the determination of the insecticide fipronil in liquid eggs. In parallel, the development of a CRM was initiated.

Fipronil is a popular insecticide, often used to de-flea household pets such as dogs and cats. It is also effective at treating red lice, commonly found in poultry.

Fipronil is not authorised for use around or on food-producing animals as it has potential toxicity to humans. Therefore, food control laboratories monitor fipronil in the food chain.

Fipronil metabolises into fipronil sulfone that shows similar toxicity. The residue definition for enforcement sums up fipronil and fipronil sulfone. The European Commission has set a maximum residue limit (MRL) for the sum of fipronil and fipronil sulfone in eggs and poultry meat of 0.005 mg/kg in Commission Regulation (EC) 396/2005 and (EU) 1127/2014.

Food authorities in the Member States of the European Unionand food industry have implemented significant monitoring of eggs for residues of fipronil.

To ensure that the monitoring produces reliable results, leading ultimately to safe food for the citizens, the JRC produced this CRM for determination of fipronil and fipronil sulfone in egg.

The material is prepared from contaminated eggs embargoed by food authorities.

The CRM will be an essential tool for validation of analytical methods for control laboratories and will contribute to achieve reliable analytical results.

Eggs cracked for analysis
© European Union, 2017

Related Content

ERM-BB125 Egg Powder

Certified Reference Materials catalogue of the JRC

Can official control laboratories quantify reliably fipronil in eggs? Evidence from a proficiency testing round


Publication date
12 June 2020