Advice line: 1890 33 66 77

MPA Food and Feed Incident - FOOD ALERT NOTIFICATION 2002.240

Friday, 12 July 2002

Category 2:

For Information

Alert Notification:



Products and Animal Feed Products

Batch Code:

Nature of Danger: Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA)

Country Of Origin:





MPA is a synthetic hormone having progestogen activity. In human medicine it has a variety of uses including use as a contraceptive, use in hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the treatment of breast cancer and, at lower concentrations, to prevent osteoporosis. It is also used in veterinary medicine and was used in agriculture in the past as a growth promoter. This use is now banned in the EU, but it is used as a cattle growth hormone in the USA and other parts of the world.

In May 2002 the hormone Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) was detected in pigs in the Netherlands. The MPA was traced to feed from Belgium that was produced by a firm called BIOLAND. The problem was identified when sows fed the BIOLAND feed were found to have fertility problems.

The MPA originated in sugar-rich waste material from a pharmaceutical industry in Ireland. It had been sent to BIOLAND, Arendonk, Belgium for treatment or waste recovery. MPA contaminated glucose syrup was supplied to the feed industry and incorporated into compound and wet feed. This contaminated feed was used on farms in the Netherlands and Belgium. Some feed was also supplied to Germany, Italy and Spain.

MPA contaminated material appears to have been used in two soft drinks manufacturing companies in Belgium approximately one year ago. The Belgian Authorities do not suspect that any of soft drink product was exported from Belgium or that any of this product is now on the market. There is no indication that any of the potentially contaminated sugar syrup has been supplied to the food and drink industry in Ireland. The Department of Agriculture and Food is currently checking with the feed industry in Ireland, but to date there is no indication that the contaminated material was used here.

The Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health met in Brussels on 10th July to discuss the matter. The report of the Belgium Food Safety Authority, which details the investigation carried out by the Belgian Authorities to date, was discussed. A copy is attached. The Committee requested Member States of the European Union to:

  • Continue to trace potentially affected food and feed, block establishments concerned and test possibly affected products;
  • Verify if domestic companies were clients of the Belgian company BIOLAND.

Action Requested

In order to comply with the request from the Standing Committee and to be able to assure consumer confidence in the food chain in Ireland: -

The Food industry is requested to notify the FSAI if your company has received sugar syrups from BIOLAND. Food companies are advised to check with their suppliers of sugar syrups regarding the source of their material.

EHO’s are requested, further to our message of yesterday, to extend their investigations to all food manufacturing industries in your area that may use glucose or other sugar syrups to ascertain if sugar syrup from BIOLAND was used.

LA Vets are requested to contact Ciaran O’Sullivan (Tel: 01-8171361) with any queries regarding the sampling of imported meats.

Note: - As a precaution the FSAI, in collaboration with Department of Agriculture and Food, is arranging for random sampling and testing of foods of animal origin that may contain MPA. The Local Authority Veterinary Service has been contacted in this regard.

Ruth Davis

Consumer Protection

For out of office hours please contact the FSAI emergency number: 01-8171313