Belgium’s government has proposed 10 measures to support companies affected by the crisis of eggs contaminated with the insecticide Fipronil, the federal government announced on Wednesday in a communique. The measures include compensation for affected companies, temporary unemployment and facilities for payroll tax and social security contributions.
As part of the new measures, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Afsca, will be tasked with compensating companies for the products they had to destroy. This will be covered by the Afsca’s reserve. The agency will also compensate companies for operational costs incurred as a result of the crisis, such as those related to transport, cleaning, destruction of the eggs and tests.
The Government has also announced that it is considering extending the possibility of launching class action suits, currently limited to private individuals, to small and medium-sized businesses and other companies.
Poultry businesses will now be able to place staff on temporary employment by invoking force majeure. This measure may apply for the month of August 2017.
Further, companies can apply to benefit from a plan for the payment of employers’ social security contributions and they should receive a response within 10 working days. Payment facilities regarding payroll tax and value-added tax are also available, the federal government said.
The other measures are related to the social status of independent workers in the poultry, food-business and trade sectors, bank credit, and building Afsca’s capacity to inform food-chain actors affected by the crisis.
The government had already confirmed on Wednesday that it wished to file a complaint against the companies that committed the fraud leading to the contamination of the eggs with the insecticide. Oscar Schneider The Brussels Times