Saturday

21st Oct 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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".

Europe holds off on storing CO2

Most reports looking at long-term climate scenarios agree that some form of carbon capture and storage is needed. However, its deployment has been stalled in the EU.

EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote

As the renewal of the weedkiller glyphosate is a hot potato on the EU agenda, with a vote in the Parliament on Thursday, the role of two closely-involved EU agencies has come under scrutiny.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks