Several days after Spain raised the alarm over tainted food oil from Ukraine, Brussels has taken Europe-wide action to follow Madrid’s lead. At the same time, the sunflower oil’s potential effect on consumers’ health is being played down. In the second week of the EU’s latest food scare, the European Commission said the 40,000 tonnes of oil had been contaminated on purpose. But the authorities have been slow to identify brand names. A spokesman said: “This a fraud that has been committed. Some mineral oil has illegally found its way into this oil. So, through the rapid alert system, the oil is being traced, either if it has been refined or not. Any oil that contains those traces of mineral oil will be removed from the market, and that is already happening.” The seven shiploads of Ukrainian oil originally arrived in France. There, it was re-exported to at least five other EU countries, including Britain, Italy and the Netherlands. Toxic oil killed hundreds of Spaniards in 1981. Thousands of survivors suffered injuries.