Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

Egg scare prompts EU to consider national food safety officers

  • Millions of eggs were destroyed over the summer over a health scare involving fipronil. (Photo: https://unsplash.com/@foodiesfeed)

Member states have agreed on Tuesday (26 September) to consider appointing a single "food safety officer" to improve communications in the case of food contamination.

The ministerial conference was held to look back on the fipronil crisis that took place in the EU over the summer.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Andriukaitis: 'We will consider how to establish a food safety officer in each member state'. (Photo: European Commission)

Eggs were sold by Dutch and Belgian farmers, who had bought insecticides that illegally contained fipronil. The incident was marked with conflicting reports by authorities. Millions of eggs were destroyed, and millions of chickens were culled preemptively.

The incident saw the Belgian agriculture minister, Denis Ducarme, accuse the Netherlands of having been aware of the problem as early as 2016. On the other hand, Belgium was accused of not informing its neighbours on time.

But according to Dutch caretaker minister for agriculture, Henk Kamp, Tuesday's meeting took place in a "constructive" atmosphere.

The question of who knew what (or when) was not discussed, he told EUobserver and Dutch media after the conference.

"Not once was there any finger-pointing towards countries or the European Commission," he said.

"There was the strong feeling that this is a common problem and that we have a common interest to make sure if something similar happens, [the response] is better," said Kamp.

"Today's dialogue allowed us to identify several strategic and systematic actions needed at member state and European Union level," said Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU commissioner in charge of food safety.

The ministers adopted a declaration, which said the commission should develop a "management plan for food and feed incidents" and to define "the criteria when the coordination at EU level should be triggered by member states".

They also agreed that there should be procedures "to ensure a rapid common risk assessment that can serve as basis for a co-ordinated risk management approach at EU level".

Dutch minister Kamp said that, during the fipronil crisis, member states gained experience with dedicated liaison officers.

"We agreed that we would continue that by setting up points of contact in each country," he said.

The official conclusions, and Andriukaitis, suggested the agreement was slightly more tentative.

"We will consider how to establish a food safety officer in each member state to make sure information flows as fast and efficiently as possible," said the Lithuanian commissioner.

The conclusions tread carefully, saying that establishing such an officer should be "considered".

It said the follow-up plans will be "further discussed" in an EU working group.

Egg scare prompts review of EU alert systems

Health ministers' meeting called to discuss improvements to EU alert systems, but Danish and French authorities said pesticide levels in eggs too low to harm people.

MEPs call for Fukushima food data to be made public

A majority of the parliament's food safety committee adopted a text that warned of an increased risk of "radioactive contaminated food" from Japan, but one MEP said the text was full of "alternative facts".

EU to review animal welfare strategy

European Court of Auditors found there were "still some significant discrepancies between the animal welfare standards established in the EU legislation and the reality on the ground".

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  2. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  3. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  4. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  5. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  6. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  7. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks
  8. Italian journalist unions protest 5MS 'whores' jibe

Opinion

Crunch time to end overfishing in the EU

What happens when a difficult deadline hits? This is precisely what is being played out in EU fisheries as we approach the landmark legal commitment under the Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing by 2020.

Opinion

No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected

Following the 2030 renewable target of 32 percent, chair of the European Parliament's environment committee Adina Valean argues in order to reach our climate and energy goals, we need both public and private investment over the next decade and beyond.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  2. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  3. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  4. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  5. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  6. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  7. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  8. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us