Containers mix foodstuffs with chemicals

22 January 2009

Containers mix foodstuffs with chemicals

How can a transport company have used containers to alternate foodstuffs and chemicals without their being competently cleaned in between each transport? SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer wants the European Commission to explain why this happened and how it will be prevented from occurring in the future.

Cargo residues

In a series of written questions to the Commission, Meijer has asked whether it is correct that transport corporations have been allowed to carry rice or sugar, then feed for animals, then chemicals, in containers which have not been thoroughly cleaned in between each transport. "Even small cargo residues can go directly into the food chain," he points out.


On 15th January, 2009 the television documentary series Netwerk featured whistle-blowers from Eurotranspool, a firm whose head office lies just over the border in Germany. Despite its location, the company is Dutch-owned and employs mostly Dutch personnel. It transports a variety of cargoes - foodstuffs, dried and ground meat, and iron sulphate – without the containers being thoroughly cleaned between voyages. Reports indicate that false certificates have been used to show that cleaning did in fact take place. The workers employed by the firm have health problems as a result of the polluted cargoes.

Separate containers

“I want the European Commission to say whether they agree with me that separate cargoes should be used for foodstuffs and non-food cargoes," says Erik Meijer.

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