Bel­gium vows full trans­parency about why it kept Dutch scan­dal se­cret till last month

New Straits Times - - Business -

BRI­TAIN and France said on Mon­day some in­sec­ti­cide-tainted eggs may have en­tered the coun­try, as mil­lions of chick­ens faced be­ing culled in the Nether­lands in a grow­ing Euro­pean con­tam­i­na­tion scan­dal.

Bel­gium, mean­while, has vowed full trans­parency about why it kept the scan­dal se­cret de­spite orig­i­nally learn­ing in June about the prob­lem in­volv­ing fipronil, a sub­stance po­ten­tially dangerous to hu­mans.

Su­per­mar­kets in Ger­many, the Nether­lands and Bel­gium have pulled mil­lions of eggs from the shelves since Bel­gium gave the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion the first no­ti­fi­ca­tion on July 20, while re­tail­ers in Swe­den and Switzer­land have fol­lowed suit.

The com­mis­sion said on Mon­day un­der its EU rapid alert sys­tem, it had been de­ter­mined that eggs un­der sus­pi­cion of con­tam­i­na­tion had also been dis­trib­uted to France and Bri­tain via Ger­many.

“It’s now up to the Swedish, Swiss, French and United King­dom to check be­cause all these eggs are trace­able and track­able,” said com­mis­sion spokesman Anna-Kaisa Itko­nen.

Bri­tain’s Food Stan­dards Agency said it was “ur­gently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of these eggs in the UK” from farms at the cen­tre of the scare, while adding that “the num­ber of eggs in­volved is very small and the risk to public health is very low”.

It did not give a num­ber but said it rep­re­sented 0.0001 per cent of eggs an­nu­ally im­ported into Bri­tain.

The French gov­ern­ment said thir­teen batches of Dutch eggs con­tam­i­nated with fipronil were found at two food-pro­cess­ing fac­to­ries in cen­tral France.

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