Euro-Chicken Scandal Is a Cock-up-a-doodle Doo!

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A Belgian poultry scandal in which chickens were fed food laced with deadly dioxins couldn’t have come at a worse time for a European Union poised to fight trade wars with Washington. "The E.U. would certainly rather have avoided the embarrassment of a food fight on their own turf when they’re challenging the U.S. over hormone-treated beef and genetically modified foods," says TIME Brussels bureau chief James Graff. "Particularly since the Belgian poultry scandal concerns an extremely dangerous carcinogen, dioxin." The E.U. Wednesday ordered the destruction of possibly tainted eggs, chickens and products ranging from waffles to mayonnaise in response to a scandal that has already forced the resignation of two Belgian cabinet ministers. Officials from a major Belgian animal-feed supplier were arrested Wednesday on charges of adding non-animal substances to products labeled as 100 percent animal fat.

"Although Europeans tend to be more sensitive than Americans to food security issues, the 'mad cow' crisis highlighted the absence of an effective regulatory mechanism in Europe," says Graff. "The poultry scandal is going to fuel calls for the E.U. to create a kind of continent-wide FDA." For now, though, Europeans may be tempted to hold the mayo.