10 August 2017
BRUSSELS officials knew about the outbreak of contaminated eggs across Europe last month, it has been claimed.
Millions of eggs have been pulled from European supermarkets in the past week after an outbreak of the insecticide Fipronil.
The UK has been swept up in the scandal, with around 70,000 eggs recalled from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda stores.
According to a new report, Belgium’s safety authority FASNK alerted Dutch officials and the European Commission to the scare on July 6.
The report states: “July 6 2017: Question addressed to the Netherlands via the anti-fraud system AAC-FF, explaining the hypotheses concerning the original contamination.
“This message is also read by the European authorities that operate the system.”
Brussels food law is overseen by its Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System (AAC) and its Food Fraud Network (FF).
Earlier today, Dutch police detained two men suspected of being involved in the illegal use of Fipronil at poultry farms.
The pesticide is banned by the EU for use on animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.
Reported adverse effects from consumption of Fipronil include seizures, vomiting, dizziness and head and stomach pain.
The Commission admitted Dutch and Belgian authorities had spoken on July 6, but it insisted it was not involved in the exchange.
A spokesman said: “On July 6, there was a bilateral exchange between Belgium and the Netherlands within the framework of the so-called administrative support and cooperation system.
“The Commission does not actively monitor the exchange in the AAC as is the case with the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).”
Speaking to German media, the Belgian official did not send an official risk report on the Fipronil outbreak until July 20.
He added: “The European Commission did not know about Fipronil contaminated eggs until July 20, when the Belgian authorities informed the Commission via our rapid alert system.
“The Commission did not receive any information about this contamination accusation before July 20, not via technical or any other channels.”
Belgium’s Agricultural Minister said his Dutch colleagues had been made aware about eggs contaminated with Fipronil since November 2016.
The minister, Denis Ducarme, said a report had confirmed Dutch eggs had tested positive for the potentially dangerous pesticide.
But the head of Dutch Food Safety Authority, Rob van Lint, denied his claims.
He said: “The accusation that we knew of Fipronil in eggs in November 2016 is not correct. At that time, there was no evidence that there could be an acute risk to food safety.”
Also Fipronil in Polish eggs in the Netherlands
The pesticide Fipronil is also found in eggs imported from Poland. An egg trader or processor reported to the Dutch Food and Welfare Authority NVWA that in a sample he found a too high level of fipronil in Polish eggs, says an NVWA spokesperson. …
According to the Algemeen Dagblad daily, the Netherlands imports one to two million eggs from Poland each week. They are processed into different products and go to restaurants and Polish shops. In regular supermarkets they are not sold. The eggs are cheap because the rules for poultry farming in Poland are less strict.
Hubers of agricultural organisation LTO believes that the Fipronil infection in Poland does not originate from ChickFriend, the Barneveld company that has used the insecticide in the Netherlands. According to Hubers, a European network is active because the use of Fipronil is very lucrative.