The maximum fines which Dutch food safety inspectors can levy on companies caught meddling with food has been increased from €4,500 to €810,000 following a vote in parliament on Tuesday evening.
‘It was absurd that you could be fined €800,000 for sending spam email messages and not for deliberately adding rubbish to food,’ Labour MP Sjoera Dikkers, who sponsored the motion, is quoted by broadcaster Nos as saying after the vote.
For example, fish processing company Foppen, at the centre of a major salmonella scare last year, was given four fines of just €1,050.
Ministers wanted to raise the maximum fines to €81,000 but Dikkers said that was not enough to force companies to keep to health and hygiene rules.
The consumers’ association welcomed the change in the law. ‘Consumers have had to deal with food scandals time after time,’ a spokesman said. ‘This has made the need for higher fines painfully obvious.’
Dikkers is also campaigning to have all fines administered by food safety inspectors made public.
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