The Secretary of State for Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, Martijn van Dam, said on Thursday on a Dutch television programme that he had expressed his “unhappiness” to Belgium’s Minister of Agriculture, Denis Ducarme, after the latter accused the Netherlands of being already aware in November 2016 that eggs had been contaminated with the pesticide Fipronil. Describing the accusation, made on Wednesday, as untrue, van Dam said the Belgian minister had misinformed his country’s parliament, adding that Ducarme had based his claim on confidential Dutch documents that have since been made public. Van Dam said he had reproached Ducarme for his accusation, explaining that it was not good to point fingers and that, on the contrary, the crisis required good collaboration. “We also agreed on what we will do in future,” he said.
On Thursday, van Dam and the Dutch Minister of Public Health, Edith Schippers, who also spoke on the televised programme, wrote a letter to their parliament in reaction to the Belgian accusation. They explained that an anonymous tip had been sent about the use of Fipronil, but in stables, with no reference to eggs.
The Office for Risk Assessment and Research of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Safety Authority, which is the equivalent of Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Afsca, checked the information and concluded that there was “no risk” to public health.