- Title: Belgian minister blames Dutch for delays in eggs safety scare
- Date: 9th August 2017
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (AUGUST 9, 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** MEDIA CROWD SURROUNDING BELGIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER DENIS DUCARME AS HE ARRIVES FOR SPECIAL MEETING WITH PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION DUCARME TALKING TO REPORTERS AND HEADING TO HIS SEAT DUCARME GIVING REPORT BY BELGIAN FOOD SAFETY AGENCY (AFSCA) TO WOMAN / REPORT ON DESK DUCARME AND HEALTH MINISTER MAGGIE DE BLOCK GREETING EACH OTHER, DE BLOCK GREETING REPRESENTATIVES OF AFSCA CAMERA DE BLOCK TAKING HER SEAT, TALKING TO DUCARME DE BLOCK AND DUCARME SEATED COMMISSION ROOM DE BLOCK, DUCARME AND MEMBERS OF AFSCA DURING COMMISSION SESSION CAMERAS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER, DENIS DUCARME, SAYING: "One month. One month without having a single piece of information from the Dutch (food safety) agency. What does it mean? It means we could not have access to the client list of the Dutch company. It means we could not, that the (Belgian food safety) agency could not, precisely determine earlier the security perimeter that it could later identify around these 86 farms. It means that we lost a month before we could do tests." COMMISSION MEETING UNDERWAY (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER, DENIS DUCARME, SAYING: "When a country like the Netherlands, one of the biggest exporters of eggs in the world, does not exchange this type of information that is a real issue." CAMERAS FILMING COMMISSION MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (French) BELGIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER, DENIS DUCARME, SAYING: "AFSCA, which has a certain number of contacts, was forwarded, let's say by chance, some internal information from the (Dutch food safety) agency. It was a report by the Dutch agency transmitted to their Dutch minister stating that - and you mention it in your report - stating that they noticed the presence of fipronil in Dutch eggs as soon as the end of November 2016." MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT RAISING ARM TO ASK QUESTION AS MINISTERS LISTEN DE BLOCK AND DUCARME LISTENING TO QUESTION / AFSCA MEMBERS COMMISSION MEETING UNDERWAY
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2017 13:29
- Keywords: insecticide fipronil Belgium's agricultural minister eggs Dutch authorities
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA0016TFQNGN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Belgian officials waited a month for information from Dutch counterparts after finding traces of an insecticide in eggs, Belgium's farm minister said on Wednesday (August 9), adding that the Netherlands had known about contamination since last November.
Contamination with the insecticide fipronil has led retailers in several European countries to pull millions of eggs from supermarket shelves, as the scare over its potentially harmful consequences to humans spread.
Belgium's food safety regulator AFSCA has drawn criticism both at home and abroad after it said it was informed about a first case of fipronil contamination in Belgium in early June but only notified the European Commission in late July.
Dutch and Belgian authorities have traced the source of the insecticide to a supplier of cleaning products in the Netherlands, but Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme blamed the Dutch for not speeding up the investigation.
The Netherlands only provided information on its investigation to Belgium in July, a month after Belgium requested it, he told a parliamentary hearing in Brussels.
Ducarme said an internal document from the Dutch regulator showed the Dutch had been aware of fipronil in eggs since November 2016.
The Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry referred questions to the country's Food Authority. Phones and emails to the Food Authority went unanswered.
Fipronil is a popular insecticide to treat pets for fleas and ticks but it is banned from use in the food chain because it may cause organ damage in humans if large quantities are ingested.
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