Millions of eggs have been dumped from European shelves following news that the toxic insecticide fipronil had contaminated eggs in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The chemical -- used by veterinarians to treat fleas in pets -- is banned for use on livestock. But authorities say fipronil was illegally mixed with a cleaning agent used on many poultry farms.
As authorities race to identify the source of the contamination, we’re learning that some EU member states knew of the contamination as early as November 2016. This is a massive failure of communication. With consumer safety on the line, it’s up to the European Food Safety Authority to ensure that national food safety authorities share risk information immediately.
Call on the European Food Safety Authority to tighten rapid response communications between member states to prevent another fipronil scare.
Belgium has come under fire for failing to report the contamination for over a month and a half. But Belgium then pointed the finger at the Netherlands -- where a Dutch food body was tipped off about the contamination as early as November 2016.
According to the World Health Organization, fipronil can cause nausea, vomiting, and epileptic fits, and consumption over time is linked to liver, kidney, and thyroid damage. Which is why the EU banned fipronil in 2013 from use on livestock -- meaning fipronil never should have gotten anywhere near egg-laying hens.
Playing the blame game won’t keep consumers safe. This fipronil outbreak is a consequence of failed communication between the bureaucracies that govern food safety across EU member nations. Consumer safety can’t wait -- which is why we need the European Food Safety Authority to implement rapid response measures to ensure that national authorities are in close communication whenever consumer safety is at risk.
Sign the petition to call on EFSA to tighten communications between national authorities to prevent delays on food safety scares.