If we follow the strict European standards, we do not recommend in all of Flanders eating eggs from your own farm. Not only in highly polluted areas like Zwijndrecht. This is the conclusion of a new Flemish report by Professor Karl Franken, holder of the PFAS contract for the Flemish government. According to the report, the percentage of PFAS in eggs is much greater than in locally grown vegetables.
The Flemish Report makes no bones about it. “In all of Flanders – and also in unsuspecting PFOS risk sites – there is a problem for PFOS with regard to the egg consumption of our laying hens.” The impact of our eggs, when it comes to our ingestion of PFOS through food, is enormous. According to the study, eggs account for 98.7 percent of the local exposure to PFOS in people who have their own vegetable garden and cooperative index,” the report concludes.
That is, if we follow the strict European standards of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In our country there are currently no standards for PFAS because there are no standards yet. So the Federal Food Safety Agency (FAVV) is following so-called “action limits” for now. In some polluted hotspots, these egg working limits have already been exceeded. It is therefore important to pay attention to whether the European Commission will effectively impose its own stringent standards on member states. This report is part of a heated debate on this topic.
So don’t always eat only eggs from your own farm or vegetable garden vegetables. Alternate enough.
“Through this report I want to make clear the consequences that will occur if we follow the new European standards,” explains Professor Karl Franken, the man responsible for mapping PFAS pollution in Flanders for the Flemish government. In his own words, Franken does not take a stand himself. “It is not up to me to give general advice on nutrition, but I want to open the discussion with this.”
At the Health and Welfare Agency, they do not intend to modify their advice after this report. “We’ve already advised people to change their diet anyway,” Joris Moonens explains. “So do not always eat eggs from your own farm or vegetables from the vegetable garden. Variety enough.” Advice, according to some, do not completely exclude that something can be fundamentally wrong with the soil in Flanders.
The European Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) standards of food have been up for discussion for some time. Some find it too strict, others find it realistic as much as we want to protect our health. However, it aims to protect the most vulnerable groups in our society: pregnant and lactating women and children. The stringent criteria came after a study found that children who took PFAS through the mother had no or less good response to the measles vaccination. The question, of course, is whether these stringent criteria should also apply to the entire Flemish population.
This is not really a Flemish or Belgian phenomenon.
“These standards are so strict that they can lead to actions that are not yet realistic,” Franken admits. So says the saying that the earth must be dug up all over Flanders. PFAS is found throughout the country. “But also in the rest of Europe,” Franken says. “This is really not a Flemish or Belgian phenomenon.”
The discussion immediately brings to mind the measures taken against Covid-19. “It all depends on the risks we are willing to accept,” Franken said. “If that risk was zero, we would still be in complete lockdown. We obviously didn’t choose that.”
This year a decision is expected to be made on whether the EFSA’s stringent standards will apply here in Flanders.
This is how Gentbrugge thinks about PFAS contamination around the former fire station: “No more vegetables or fruits from my vegetable garden? I don’t use any chemical products” (+)
Minister Demir: “Flemish drinking water meets European PFAS standards”
“Everyone in Flanders ingests a lot of PFOS through food”
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