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Fipronil in eggs: all information on the dangers offipronil, what it is and how we are placed in Italy. Monitoring of the Ministry of Health on food fraud and dangers to human health.
Fipronil in eggs and other food scandals
Every year we see a large number offood fraud and, unfortunately, I have to open with bad news: not all food fraud ends up under the magnifying glass of the Ministry of Health, so we consumers too often end up being unaware victims of a very complex system. Those looking for someone to blame will have to point to the producers themselves. Trying to prevent this type of accident is very difficult, because in the face of bad faith of producers, there would be a need for tight and continuous controls.
2005 was the case with the carcinogenic dye Suda, which was fraudulently added to improve the color of some red foods, including chili. 2010 was the year of the blue mozzarella produced in Germany (the color was linked to the presence of a bacterium), then there was the mascarpone with botulinum, the food warmer that saw the presence ofhorse meat of dubious origin in some famous tortellini (the ingredient was not even mentioned on the packaging) and, if we go back in time, everyone will remember the case of the mad cow, caused by the feeding of cattle based onbone meat meal, prohibited only until 2012. In short, the case offipronil eggsit is just the latest in a very long series of food scandals. Let's shed some light on the matter.
That of thefipronil in eggsit is a problem born in Holland and Belgium but Italian breeders would not seem immune to it. Let's clarify immediately what fipronil is and how it ended up in eggs!
Thefipronilit is an active ingredient prohibited by the European Union on livestock species. This active ingredient is used in the formulation of various pesticides. It is frightening to know that the fact was "discovered by accident". In Holland and Belgium traces offipronil in eggs, it was believed that the problem was limited only to these geographical areas but further checks, carried out in other states of the European Union in order to monitor the eggs imported from those countries, have triggered other alarms. Theeggs contaminated with fipronilthey were not only those of foreign imports ... and this is what also happened in Italy.
The phenomenon offipronil eggsinvolved 17 countries of the European Union.
Fipronil, what it is and its effects on humans
It is a molecule with an antiparasitic and insecticide action, it has a broad spectrum. In EU countries its use is authorized for pets, for example, it can be useful for combating fleas and lice from pets. On the contrary, on farm animals, its use is prohibited.
Thefipronilit is dangerous for human health. Its ingestion (together with the consumption of eggs and all packaged products containing eggs such as brioche, biscuits, panettone, flans ...) could cause damage to the fecal, kidney and thyroid. This active ingredient, in fact, even if ingested in small doses, tends to accumulate in body fat.
The limit established for acute toxicity is 0.72 mg / kg while the contamination values beyond which the seizure of the eggs and of the entire farm is triggered, amount to 0.005 mg / kg for fipronil and 0.01 mg / kg per amitraz, another dangerous active ingredient in the spotlight.
Acute effects are not expected to occur, as to assist insymptomsof any kind related to the ingestion offipronil, a large number of eggs should be consumed per day (even if it depends on the extent of the contamination, experts hazard the figure of 5 eggs per day).
Fipronil in eggs in Italy
As stated, the problem offipronil in eggsit also involved Italian breeders, albeit marginally. In particular, the regions in which the checks revealed more cases concern chicken farms in Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Calabria and Sardinia.
The European rapid alert system Rasff (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) is periodically issuing warnings regarding Fipronil contamination for eggs and egg products from Italy itself for our food markets. So these are Italian eggs intended for consumption within national borders. The cases of fipronil in Italian eggs, linked to the avian cases of the past months, have caused a decrease in production of 10%. This means that the phenomenon was much more extensive than we could imagine, even if the levels of contamination were low - as reported by some media - there is talk of a hole of 100 million eggs per month, as reported by Coldiretti.
What to do to protect yourself?
Organic or non-organic? This is no longer the problem. If a series of producers, for unknown times, have been able to market eggs produced using an outlawed pesticide, there are no guarantees even on organic even if, in theory, the organic egg supply chain should be more controlled and therefore ... guaranteed . This in theory. Because always in theory, the fipronil in eggs was not supposed to end up there.
To protect yourself, the classic advice always applies: self-production is better and if this is not possible, it is better to contact small local breeders who have a limited number of hens.
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