With the scandal over residues of the pesticide Fipronil in eggs in Europe growing and any retailers pulling eggs from stores to protect their customers, Fera has responded swiftly by adapting their accredited LCMS technique, typically used for the analysis of fruit, vegetable and cereals to test for Fipronil in eggs
What exactly is Fipronil?
Fipronil is highly toxic and used as an insecticide to protect crops as well as in veterinary medicine to kill off fleas, lice, ticks, roaches and mites. If a pest infestation at a farm is treated with Fipronil, the animals' skin - or feathers, in case of chickens - could absorb the insecticide. Traces can then also be found in animal products, like eggs. Therefore, it is not allowed on animals intended for food production.
Fera’s leading pesticide expert, Sadat Nawaz explains how Fera plays a key role in limiting risk by testing for pesticide residues in food. “Fera Science, a joint venture between Capita and Defra, is able to deal with emerging food safety issues drawing upon its decades of experience, applying original thinking and deploying state of the art measurement technologies. Fera routinely tests for fipronil and its metabolites in fruit and vegetable samples. As a direct result of fipronil recently being detected in eggs in the Netherlands and the potential public health issue we immediately started work to set-up and validate a procedure to test fipronil in eggs for food industry and regulatory bodies. Fera has played a leading role in this area for years and is the National Reference laboratory for analysis of pesticides residues. Our history of delivering science for the public good stretch back over 100 years therefore it was important to us to develop a test to help industry understand if their products have the presence of Fipronil so that they can take the necessary steps to protect and reassure their customers and the public.”