Belgians urged to eat CHIPS twice a week as coronavirus crisis leaves 750-tonne potato mountain
BELGIANS are being urged to eat CHIPS twice a week to reduce the country's huge coronavirus potato mountain.
Farmers in the country have called on citizens to do their bit to help demolish the 750,000 tonne surplus of spuds which have built up since the deadly outbreak.
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Frites – chips fried twice – are one of the national dishes of Belgium and are usually served smothered in Mayonnaise.
But potato farmers have been hit hard by the lockdown measures which closed restaurants and take-aways.
Belgapom – the trade body which represents spud farmers – has reportedly called for the national delicacy to be eaten at least twice a week so stocks don't go to waste.
Surplus potatoes are also being distributed to food banks across the country during the ongoing virus crisis.
Romain Cools, secretary general of Belgapom said: "Let us all eat French fries twice instead of once a week.
"We are also working on sales to central European countries that want to make starch from it, and it is also used to make animal feed and even electricity."
There are more than 5,000 frites vendors in the country of 11 million people, which means there are 11 times as many stands per capita as there are McDonald’s per American.
Belgians consume on average 75 kg (165 lbs) of fried potatoes per person each year, a third more than Americans.
Belgium has been in lockdown since Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced the closure of bars, restaurants and non-essential shops back in March.
Shde has now announced a detailed plan to gradually lift the country's coronavirus restrictions.
Under new rules, all shops will be allowed to open their doors again from 11 May, with schools reopening the following week.
But Ms Wilmès cautioned that "nothing is set in stone".
More than 45,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Belgium.
Nearly 7,000 deaths have been recorded in the nation – which has the highest death rate per capita in Europe.
More than half the fatalities have been in care homes.
The first businesses to open will be fabric shops on 4 May, in order to help people comply with new regulations requiring all Belgians aged 12 or over to wear masks on public transport.
Other shops will reopen a week later, subject to strict conditions.
Schools will start opening up again from 18 May, but no more than 10 children will be allowed in each class
However, cafes and restaurants will not be permitted to open before 8 June.
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