In July 2017 Belgian food safety authorities publicly released information about a pesticide, fipronil, found in eggs leading to millions of eggs recalled.
The announcement came a month after the government knew about it.
‘Food safety recalls are always either too early or too late. If you’re right, it’s always too late. If you’re wrong, it’s always too early.’
During foodborne illness outbreaks and incidents information is evolving – what people know, and when the share it can impact public health, and buyer decisions. Go public too late and stuff remains on the market. Go public too early risks making a wrong decision.
Doug, Sol Erdozian and I wrote a paper in the Journal of Environmental Health where we look at how to go public with food safety info.
There’s no magic answer; just have a plan and a set of criteria to look at when making the decision of what to share when. Talk about uncertainty. And don’t make it up on the fly.
And be prepared for folks to look for what you knew, when you knew it, and what you did about it after.
Belgian prosecutors said on Tuesday they had raided the premises of the country’s food safety agency over an insecticide scandal in eggs that rattled European consumers last summer.
“The judicial investigation concerns the spreading of false information about the fipronil contamination in eggs in 2017,” prosecutors said in a statement, adding the investigation was ongoing.
Last summer, German authorities blamed their Belgian counterparts for not communicating sooner about a possible fipronil contamination. Belgium’s farm minister denied the accusations at the time.