The Dutch government yesterday [Wednesday] countered claims that it had been slow to inform German authorities about a batch of contaminated fishmeal exported to the country.

Criticism had come from German officials that Holland had procrastinated on its duty to inform them that a shipment of fish scraps contained an antibiotic dangerous to humans.

A spokesman from the Dutch food inspection department is quoted in the national newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad as saying: "We sent the letter to the German authorities as soon as we could."