Brodifacoum is a chemical used in some poisons to control pests such as rodents and possums. Learn more about brodifacoum and the controls in place to make sure it can't harm people.
Brodifacoum is the active ingredient in a number of poison baits. It's an anticoagulant that prevents blood clotting in animals. Animals eat the bait then die from internal bleeding.
Brodifacoum is slower acting than 1080 but is highly effective. Although brodifacoum is biodegradable, it can take weeks or sometimes months to break down.
While brodifacoum is a hazardous chemical that could be harmful to humans, you would need to eat a relatively large amount of bait to get sick.
Low health risk to humans when used properly
Brodifacoum does not dissolve in water or move through soil, so the chance of it leaching into water courses or water supplies is very small.
If label directions are followed, the risk to people is extremely low and should mean farmed animals are not exposed to brodifacoum.
Residues are monitored
MPI routinely tests brodifacoum levels as part of our National Chemical Residue Programme. Animals are randomly tested at slaughter or processing, and we use this information to assess overall residue levels in the animal population. This routine testing has not found brodifacoum in farmed animals.
Low levels of brodifacoum in wild pigs
Wild animals processed at commercial abattoirs are also tested for brodifacoum because they may feed in areas where brodifacoum is used. Tests have shown low levels of brodifacoum in the livers of some wild pigs.
Eating large amounts of contaminated livers over a long period could make you sick, particularly if you are already taking blood-thinning medications.
Controls to keep food safe
Labels for brodifacoum baits specifically state that users must prevent domestic animals from getting access to the bait.
Because of residues found in wild pigs, MPI has restricted their trade and advised hunters of this risk.
Don't eat offal from wild-caught animals
Some poisons can concentrate in the offal of wild animals. For this reason, offal from commercially hunted animals cannot be sold. We also advise recreational hunters not to eat offal from wild animals and not to feed it to dogs or other animals.
For more information on food safety while hunting:
- read about food safety for hunters
- download the Food Safety for Hunters guide [PDF, 1.1 MB]
- check where pesticides have been laid – Department of Conservation website
Find out more
Who to contact
If you have questions about brodifacoum in animals, email firstname.lastname@example.org.