The Dutch egg scandal serves as a reminder to all involved in the food chain to be alert to the dangers posed at each and every step in the chain and to be vigilant about the provenance of all suppliers, Mairead McGuinness, MEP and first Vice-President of the European Parliament and a member of the Environment Committee, said today.
“The integrity of the food supply chain is critical but the reality is that a single operator whether acting with deliberate intent or otherwise can compromise the high standards of food production set by the EU.
“However, the latest food contamination scare which involved the use of a banned insecticide on over 200 egg farms in Holland and Belgium shows the importance of regular testing for residues in food and immediate reporting into the European Rapid Alert system to make sure that all member states are aware of the issue and can take appropriate action.
“The incident in two member states has impacted in 13 additional countries as eggs and egg products are recalled.
“There is speculation that the authorities were aware of the contamination issue in June but did not issue the alert until recently, as a criminal investigation was underway.
“Commissioner Andriukaitis who is responsible for food safety and public health has called a meeting in September to review the case and I expect we will have greater clarity on the timing and sequence of events and what follow-up action has been taken to deal with those who might have incorporated fipronil into products supplied to poultry farmers.
“While the final outcome of the Dutch case is still awaited it points to the need for ongoing vigilance by all involved,” she said.
It should also alert those who would risk contaminating the food chain to the reality that they will be caught, McGuinness said.
“In September we may need to strengthen the defences in our food system and if this is the case I will be talking to my colleagues on the environment committee and in the Commission.
“At the very least food producers from farm to fork need to carry out an analysis of suppliers and products to ensure that there is no risk to the quality of the products they are supplying,” she added.