Europe's tainted food scandals

August 11, 2017

Public confidence in food safety in Europe has again been undermined by a growing insecticide-tainted egg scandal.

Following are some of the food scares from beef, pork and chicken to Coca-Cola, that have dented consumer confidence in Europe over the past four decades.

1981: Spanish tainted oil

Some 1,200 people are killed in Spain in May 1981 after being poisoned by tainted colza oil, sold as a substitute for olive oil in Madrid's suburbs. Sales of drop drastically, getting back to normal only two years later. In 1992, 10 company chiefs and chemists in the food oil sector are sentenced to between four and 77 years in prison over the affair.

1986: Mad cow disease

The appearance of the first cases of "" or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in 1986 in Britain causes a public health scare that lasts several years. In 1996, when it becomes clear that the disease can be transmitted to humans in the form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the European Union orders a worldwide embargo on British beef and its derivatives. The embargo is lifted in Europe in 1999 and in France in 2002. The World Health Organisation says that there have been 224 cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from October 1996 to March 2011, mainly in Britain.

1990: Benzene-tainted Perrier

Mineral water producer Perrier withdraws 160 million bottles worldwide following the detection of benzene in bottles on sale in the United States and Britain.

1999: Chickengate

In May 1999, dioxin, a highly carcinogenic substance, is discovered in feed for poultry and livestock in Belgium, contaminating the whole food chain. The scandal leads to the resignation of two Belgian ministers and costs Belgium 650 million euros, as consumers shun industrially produced eggs and chickens.

Other dioxin contamination cases follow: pork fat in Belgium in 2006, mozzarella cheese in Italy in 2008 and pork in Ireland in 2008.

1999: Coca-Cola recall

In June, 1999 several countries withdraw millions of bottles of soft drinks made by US-based beverage giant Coca-Cola after around 100 people fall ill in Europe after drinking its products. The drinks are subject to a blanket recall for several days in Belgium and Luxembourg, and partially withdrawn in the Netherlands and France. The cause of the sickness is discovered: bad quality carbonic gas used in a Belgian factory and fungicide employed to treat wooden pallets in a French factory. The company, criticised for poor management of the incident, admits responsibility.

2011: E.Coli scare

In July 2011, after 48 people die in Germany, the European Food Safety Agency slaps a temporary ban on all seeds and beans from Egypt after it blames a batch of contaminated fenugreek seeds imported to Germany and then distributed elsewhere for the infections. Cucumbers are initially, falsely, suspected of being the cause of the illnesses.

2013: Horse-meat scandal

While not having health implications, is further dented in February 2013 in a major scandal stretching across the European continent triggered by the discovery that horsemeat is being passed off as beef in burgers and other meat products.

Explore further: EU calls eggs talks as scandal spreads to Asia (Update)

Related Stories

EU calls eggs talks as scandal spreads to Asia (Update)

August 11, 2017
The EU on Friday called an emergency meeting to stop "blaming and shaming" over the insecticide-tainted eggs scandal as it emerged for the first time that the crisis had spread to Asia.

Contaminated eggs scandal spreads from Europe to Asia

August 11, 2017
A scandal involving eggs contaminated with insecticide spread to 15 EU countries, Switzerland and as far away as Hong Kong on Friday as the European Commission called for a special meeting on the growing crisis.

Tainted eggs scare: what we know

August 11, 2017
Europe and now Asia face a growing scandal over the contamination of millions of eggs with the insecticide fipronil, which can be potentially harmful to humans.

What we know about Europe's tainted eggs scandal

August 8, 2017
Several European countries face a growing scare over millions of eggs that have been contaminated with the insecticide fipronil, which is potentially harmful to humans.

Two arrested as Europe egg scandal spreads

August 10, 2017
Dutch investigators arrested two suspects Thursday over Europe's widening tainted egg scandal, as Denmark announced that 20 contaminated tonnes had been sold there.

20 tonnes of contaminated eggs sold in Denmark: food authority

August 10, 2017
Twenty tonnes of fipronil-contaminated eggs have been sold in Denmark, the country's Veterinary and Food Administration said on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

Higher levels of fluoride in pregnant woman linked to lower intelligence in their children

September 20, 2017
Fluoride in the urine of pregnant women shows a correlation with lower measures of intelligence in their children, according to University of Toronto researchers who conducted the first study of its kind and size to examine ...

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.