Belgium admits it kept quiet about 'tainted' eggs probe

August 5, 2017

Belgian officials admitted Saturday they knew in early June there was a potential problem over insecticide-contaminated eggs but kept it secret because of an ongoing fraud investigation.

"We knew since early June there was potentially a problem with fipronil in the poultry sector," Katrien Stragier, a spokeswoman for Belgium's food safety agency (AFSCA), told Flemish television VRT.

"We immediately launched an investigation and we also informed the prosecutor because it was a matter of possible fraud," she added.

"From that point on the secrecy of the inquiry took precedent. We understand that people have questions about public health and we are trying to answer them," she added.

Contacted by AFP over the past few days, the prosecutor in Antwerp handling the case refused to give out any information on the specific orders of the investigating judge.

Belgian supermarkets have cleared eggs from the shelves of supermarkets as a precautionary while awaiting the results of tests.

In Germany and the Netherlands several million eggs from Dutch farms have already been recalled.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt pressed the authorities, particularly in Belgium and The Netherlands, to clear up the situation.

"Someone has clearly proceeded with criminal intent to contaminate (the eggs) with a banned product," Schmidt told the daily Bild.

Dutch officials closed down 180 businesses earlier in the week and after tests, the Dutch food authority (NVWA) said 138 poultry farms—about a fifth of those in the country—would remain closed.

One batch of posing in particular posed "an acute danger to ", the agency said.

Eggs from another 59 farms contained high enough levels of the insecticide, fipronil, for the food authority to warn against any children eating them.

Fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks. It is banned from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.

In large quantities, the insecticide is considered to be "moderately hazardous" according to the World Health Organization, and can have dangerous effects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Explore further: Dutch farmers cry 'fowl' as eggs poisoned by insecticide

Related Stories

Dutch farmers cry 'fowl' as eggs poisoned by insecticide

August 1, 2017
Dozens of poultry farms have been closed across The Netherlands after a toxic insecticide is believed to have contaminated hundreds of thousands of eggs, Dutch officials said Tuesday.

German supermarket chain yanks eggs amid pesticide scare

August 4, 2017
A major supermarket chain said Friday it is removing all eggs from sale in its German stores amid a scare over possible pesticide contamination that Dutch producers fear will cost them millions of euros in lost income.

Bird flu confirmed at Dutch, UK farms

November 17, 2014
The Dutch government on Sunday banned the transport of poultry and eggs throughout the country after confirming an outbreak of bird flu at a chicken farm.

Recommended for you

Sweet, bitter, fat: New study reveals impact of genetics on how kids snack

February 22, 2018
Whether your child asks for crackers, cookies or veggies to snack on could be linked to genetics, according to new findings from the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph.

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.