Federal police and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Afsca, conducted 11 searches on Thursday in Belgium under the investigation into the presence of the pesticide Fipronil in eggs, the Office of the Prosecutor of Anvers has disclosed. It said compromising material had been found but gave no details.
Searches have also been conducted in the Netherlands.
The Office of the Prosecutor also confirmed on Thursday that an investigation had been opened on July 19 based on an alert from Afsca after a Belgian company in the town of Ravels was suspected of illegally using Fipronil to treat red fleas in poultry. The pesticide then entered the food chain, from which it is banned.
On the following day searches were carried out, during which documents and electronic data were seized, along with close to 6,000 litres of banned substances. The manager of the company was held for questioning then released conditionally.
Thus far, 26 suspects have been identified in Belgium, both individuals and enterprises. The investigation targets not only the importation and sale of pesticides but also fraud, the illegal practice of veterinary medicine, and the violation of European laws on food products.
“Greed has led to the addition of banned products in processes used by the food industry, jeopardizing food security and citizens’ confidence in this industry,” the Prosecutor‘s office stated.