Mondelez recalls biscuits due to likely presence of fipronil

Mondelez recalls some batches of biscuits from the Czech and Slovak markets

Mondelez has withdrawn six batches of biscuits in Czech Republic and Slovakia due to the likely presence of fipronil.

Zlaté věnečky žloutkové, 150g and 185g, are sold exclusively in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Egg yolk powder containing fipronil were used to make the products.

Státní zemědělské a potravinářské inspekce (SZPI) said lab analysis identified the presence of the contaminant only at the detection limit by an accredited method and the resulting value did not reach the EU limit.

Fipronil in egg yolk powder ingredient

Mondelez has strengthened control measures including requiring suppliers to provide a Certificate of Analysis for fipronil content for every batch of the raw material.

“We took this precautionary measure as soon as it became apparent that there was a potential that these limited batches might contain the substance fipronil through the egg yolk powder ingredient to an extent that could slightly exceed the regulatory limit,” the firm told us.

Mondelez said it commissioned testing of the concerned batches by an independent accredited German lab.

“We have received the results of this testing which analysed samples of the related production batches and these results do not indicate that the product should contain an amount of fipronil exceeding the maximum residue limit.

“We have shared these test results and all relevant documentation with the Czech Food and Agricultural Inspection Authority and the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic. We continue to cooperate with both authorities and await the results of the product samples taken by the inspectors.”

Zlaté věnečky žloutkové 185g has date 23-1-2018 and batch numbers OPA5472811 and OPA5472812.

The 150g version has batch numbers OPA5472821, OPA5472822, OPA5472823 and OPA5472831 and dates 24.1.2018 and 25.1.2018.

Státní veterinární správa (The State Veterinary Administration/SVS) in the Czech Republic said all consignments of eggs produced in other EU countries and products from them will have to be checked for fipronil.

The agency has started an investigation into Zeelandia which received eggs-based products from German distributor EIPRO Vermarktung GmbH.

Andriukaitis: 26 Member States and 19 other countries affected

The insecticide was found in Dutch and Belgian farms and the issue has spread to impact 26 Member States and 19 other countries.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said its illegal use on laying hens has led to hundreds of farms being blocked.

“While the risk to human health is low, the consequences of this criminal activity have impacted greatly the consumer confidence,” he said following the Informal Agriculture Council meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.  

“I personally held a number of calls with German, Dutch, Belgian and Austrian ministers to discuss the state of play and actions to follow. We also launched a European Union wide monitoring exercise investigating the possible use of illegal substances in egg products and egg producing farms.

Andriukaitis added the RASFF and Administrative Assistance and Cooperation (AAC) systems are ‘not in a good shape’ when it comes to co-operating but both work well separately.

Fact-finding missions to the four most affected countries will take place in late September/early October and a ministerial meeting will be held in Brussels on 26 September.

Johannes Heeg, from the German branch of the consumer organisation Foodwatch, said the fipronil situation must not be repeated and it shows the susceptibility of industry.

Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt must finally implement overdue reforms at EU level. Food must be traceable along the entire supply chain. In addition, companies must be obliged to test their own products for impurities and possible health hazards. Companies that violate provisions of food law must pay decently high penalties.

“With his legitimate but one-sided demand for a better exchange of information in Europe, Mr Schmidt rejects his own responsibility. The warning system in Germany has failed, it is inefficient and slow. A simple principle must finally be anchored in German food law: as soon as an authority knows of a contaminated food, it must be able to publicly inform consumers about it. "

Lotus Bakeries and Orkla Foods recalls

Mondelez is not the only company affected as Lotus Bakeries recalled products that contain fipronil from Belgium supermarket shelves.

Batches of Amico, Madeleine, Zebra and Mini-Frangipane products were affected.

The company tested batches of cake specialities sold in the Belgium market, which were produced using contaminated eggs.

Orkla Foods Norge withdrew 16 dressings due to traces of fipronil (0.094 mg/kg - ppm) in the egg yolk powder used in them.

The firm received egg yolk from a German producer. The egg yolk powder makes up a maximum of 1% of the finished product.

UK and French authorities have made public a list of products affected.

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