The Netherlands was aware that Dutch eggs were contaminated with the banned pesticide fipronil in November 2016, Belgium’s agriculture minister Denis Ducarme has told an emergency meeting of officials in Brussels.
In addition, the Netherlands waited far too long to share the information with others, Ducarme is quoted as saying by broadcaster NOS.
The claim is based on a report by Belgium’s food safety body FAVV referring to two memos from the Dutch NVWA. The memos say ‘the first tip’ about the use of fipronil to kill lice in layer hens had reached the NVWA in November 2016.
The claim comes as Belgium came under fire for not warning the EU authorities that there could be fipronil in eggs when it became aware of the problem on June 2, 2017. However, it took until July 20 for the Belgian authorities to post a message on the EU’s early warning system, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.
While officials dispute who knew what and when, criminal probes have been started into the scandal in both the Netherlands and Belgium, news agency ANP said.
Dutch company ChickFriend, which used the pesticide-contaminated delouse agent and Belgian firm Poultry-Vision, thought to the be source of the fipronil, are both under investigation.
Meanwhile, traces of the banned pesticide have been found in biscuits and chicken meat, according to research lab TLR. The NVWA said on Tuesday it also planned to begin testing meat.
However, toxicologists say the quantities are so tiny as to pose no threat to human health and supermarkets have no plans for a product recall.
Betere foto van hetzelfde document: NVWA wist nov 2016 van fipronilgebruik. Belgen vragen zich af: waarom zei men niets? pic.twitter.com/IZnMDi1hSs
— Thomas Spekschoor (@TBspekschoor) August 9, 2017
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