EU Mired in Summer of Food Safety Scandals

Europe’s egg contamination scandal is finally making headlines in Britain after a small batch tainted with a toxic insecticide reached the UK from the Netherlands. On the continent, the situation is worse. Millions of eggs have been withdrawn from sale in Germany, and around 180 Dutch farms have been shut down. The German government has called the scandal a “criminal case”; the Belgian government admitted it knew about the contamination in June but didn’t speak out. It is only the latest in a number of food safety scandals to hit the EU this summer…

Poland – Europe’s biggest poultry exporter – is in a salmonella crisis. By the end of July this year, 29 cases of salmonella from Polish chicken had been reported, compared to a total of 27 during the whole of 2016. Poland’s public health institute says 4,247 patients have been so far treated for salmonella contamination, the highest number for ten years. Calling for more EU regulation isn’t an answer: EU legislators are already stuck in administrative deadlock over the use of formaldehyde to prevent the disease spreading further. The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed has been considering the question for more than two years…

Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority was slammed in an independent report which found it is plagued by financial conflicts of interest. Close to half of the scientists on its expert panel have a financial relationship with one of the firms the EFSA regulates. A study by the Corporate Europe Observatory found: “46% of [EFSA] panel members have at least one financial conflict of interest with a regulated company.” Elected MEPs in the European Parliament have been telling the EFSA to address the problem for four years, but to no avail. What was all that about ‘chlorine chicken’?




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