Are there lessons for fipronil from Sudan 1?

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Can lessons learned from the Sudan 1 scandal apply to the recent fipronil imported egg scandal, asks Food Manufacture edtor Rick Pendrous?
Can lessons learned from the Sudan 1 scandal apply to the recent fipronil imported egg scandal, asks Food Manufacture edtor Rick Pendrous?

Related tags: Food

The fipronil insecticide egg contamination scandal, while not in the same league as the Sudan 1/ Para Red dye scandal of 2005, has some parallels. 

Fipronil fears first emerged on the continent in July 2017 when contamination was discovered on Dutch poultry farms. Initially, it was not thought to have affected the UK.

However, it wasn’t long before the Food Standards Agency (FSA) reported that some cases had been picked up here. It soon revised its figures and admitted that rather than the 21,000 eggs initially reported, 700,000 eggs had been imported and used in a variety of processed products.

Revised its figures

This included eggs used in sandwich fillings and chilled foods, sold in supermarkets, 11 of which were recalled.

The Sudan 1 incidents of 2005 were similarly believed initially to involve just a small number of products. But the number of recalls snowballed, until it became apparent that a major international incident had occurred.

As with fipronil – which it fairly pointed out represented just 0.007% of the eggs we consume in the UK every year – the FSA was at pains to reassure the public that Sudan 1 posed minimal public health risk.

At pains to reassure the public

But, since Sudan 1 was banned from use, any presence – however small – was illegal and foods containing it had to be removed from sale. The FSA said the same thing for fipronil.

The cost of the Sudan 1 scandal to the UK food industry was huge and, it was argued, wholly disproportionate to the risk to the public involved. It was an argument the FSA eventually accepted.

One has to ask the question: if the health risk of fipronil was minimal, was the FSA’s action proportionate? And, if it was in this case, at what point is action not justified?

Meanwhile, order your copy of the September edition of our sister title Food Manufacturehere​.

Related news

Show more

Related products

Listeria Management & Drainage: 5 Essential Steps

Listeria Management & Drainage: 5 Essential Steps

Aco Building Drainage | 26-Apr-2019 | Technical / White Paper

Listeria is widely recognised as a universal problem for food and drink manufacturers. To ensure effective listeria management and control, food and drink...

Hygienic design boosts quality and safety

Hygienic design boosts quality and safety

Minebea Intec | 16-Aug-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Avoiding food contamination and increasing product safety are key objectives of all food producers. It is critical to prevent any type of contamination...

Adulteration-and-contamination-white-paper

Adulteration versus contamination, protecting our food

Fera Science Ltd. | 30-Oct-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Adulteration affects the confidence of the public as well as business. Meat products are one of the most commonly adulterated foods – we review the challenges...

With a summer of food scares – be better informed

With a summer of food scares – be better informed

Fera Science Ltd. | 23-Oct-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Recalls and supply chain visibility are big issues right now with a summer of food scares - make sure you have the vital tools to ensure your food defence...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars