Matecna Lambasts Netherlands for Late Reporting on Fipronil

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(Stock photo by AP)

Tallin, September 5 (TASR) – Slovak Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS) nominee at an informal meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Tallin on Tuesday lambasted the Netherlands for its failure to report promptly the fipronil scandal concerning eggs and chicken.

“It’s a crime. It’s absolutely unacceptable to see an EU-member country report to other countries on its findings with a delay of several months, as the Netherlands did in this case. We can’t afford such an information vacuum, as all people in the EU are thus put in peril. Consumer safety must be an absolute priority. Close cooperation and rapid information exchanges via the system of early alerts is the basis for people’s trust in the single EU food market,” said Matecna.

According to the Slovak minister, there’s a need to introduce all-EU pharmaceutical supervision of the application of drugs to animals raised for food, while such a system has already been in place in Slovakia for several years. Another measure should involve the intensification and harmonisation of supervision via a food and fodder monitoring programme.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis at the ministerial meeting reported on the Commission’s moves in coordinating information in order to facilitate the withdrawal of fipronil-tainted food by individual member countries.

The ministers concurred that it’s necessary to improve the early warning system. Meanwhile, Andriukaitis has convened another special meeting of agriculture ministers for September 26 at which the Dutch minister is due to report on the scandal in more detail.