OPINION

Irregular regulators?

It is certainly noteworthy that the former president of the country’s food safety watchdog (EFET) – who was asked to quit his post after failing to sound the alarm over moldy yogurt on the Greek market – spilled the beans about ostensibly poisonous honey following his so-called resignation. Indeed, Nikos Katsaros claimed to have briefed the «competent authorities» of the carcinogenic nature of a certain chemical, used to keep beehives clean, as early as October. The question is whether this revelation about the honey would have come had there not been an outcry about the yogurt. And why the timing of this revelation if the whistle-blower himself insists that the honey does not pose a risk to consumers? EFET officials and Greece’s largest dairy products exporter spent an entire month deliberating after the introduction of the tainted yogurt onto the market without any attempt to inform consumers of the problem. It was only when the complaints came rolling in that EFET’s foot-dragging was exposed and that ostensibly competent officials suddenly remembered that there had also been a problem with honey since October. The main point is not whether the honey is safe; if we are to go by the statements of countless experts then one would only have a problem if he or she consumed 50 kilos of honey every day for years. The chief concern is the way in which so-called state regulators operate and to what extent we can trust them…