Belgium food safety agency: Checks continue despite Coronavirus control measures


Author: admin posted in News

Tags: official controls  Belgium

Almost 4,500 kilograms of food has been confiscated by the Belgian food safety agency (FASFC). The agency stressed it has continued efforts to protect public health since control measures for coronavirus were put in place in mid-March.

Vehicle inspections by a unit of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) have led to four vans being seized and the destruction of 4,450 kilograms of food such as meat, fish and cheese in the past week.

Most of the violations were because of non-compliance with temperatures required by the regulations. Transporting food in excessively high temperature conditions can lead to contamination and food poisoning for consumers, said officials.

The FASFC unit monitored the transport of food at the borders with police and customs officials. Violations were noted in 23 of the 142 vehicles checked.

Modified controls continue

Normally, about 320 checks are done daily by the FASFC. This situation has been adapted because of the coronavirus pandemic with a focus on high priority controls, such as the follow-up of complaints, non-conformities, and import and export checks.

Food sector companies have been allowed to set up a delivery service without needing to submit an authorization request to FASFC. Normally, such procedures are compulsory, take from days to a few weeks depending on the case, and involve additional administrative procedures and expenses.

In the Antwerp harbour around 778 tonnes of non-compliant or suspect phytosanitary products from India and China have been seized in Antwerp by the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC). 

These pesticides were intended for European fruit and vegetable producers, according to a press release published by the FASFC on Tuesday (28 April).

This major seizure, done in March and April, is the result of three searches that were part of an investigation conducted by the environmental team of the Antwerp judicial police and the public prosecutor’s office.

Bentazone and Captan

The batches of non-compliant and suspect products with unreliable certificates of analysis, traceability and origin included a bentazon-based herbicide, used for growing onions, beans and shallots, as well as a captan-based fungicide, used for growing apples and pears, said FASFC spokeswoman Stéphanie Maquoi.

The herbicide was re-authorised in the EU until 31 May 2025 and the fungicide until 31 July 2020.
All products of the Belgian company behind the imports have now been blocked.

The products may only be placed back on the market under certain conditions, which include the submission of analyses and certificates of conformity.

According to Antwerp’s public prosecutor’s office, these products “could potentially pose a risk to human health”, while Maquoi explained they could pose “a danger that concerns professionals and not the consumer”.
“We have analysed the risks. We know there is no danger for the consumer,” added Maquoi.