In July 2014 GFSI released a paper on mitigation of food frauds.
Inscatech applauds the Global Food Safety Initiative (“GFSI”) in their decision to include new requirements specific to food fraud mitigation in the next full revision of the GFSI Guidance Document (7th Edition) to be released in 2016. Details can be found in GFSI’s position paper, “GFSI Position on Mitigating the Public Health Risk of Food Fraud”, released on July 14, 2014.
Inscatech was a key member of the GFSI Board Sponsored Food Fraud Think Tank which was convened to further advance the Food Fraud mitigation topic, and was instrumental having its recommendations adopted by the GFSI Board of Directors. Its fellow Food Fraud Think Tank members included Eurofins, who brought perspectives on analytical testing and certification, and Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative, an interdisciplinary, education and outreach organization. The manufacturers and retailers perspectives on the Think Tank were represented by Danone, Walmart and Royal Ahold respectively. Inscatech congratulates its colleagues on the Food Fraud Think Tank for collaboratively achieving this groundbreaking advancement in Food Fraud prevention.
The new GFSI requirements specify that companies perform Food Fraud vulnerability assessments and implement a Food Fraud vulnerability control plan to mitigate identified vulnerabilities (“The Think Tank recommends that two fundamental steps are taken by the food industry to aid in the mitigation of Food Fraud: firstly, to carry out a “food fraud vulnerability assessment” in which information is collected at the appropriate points along the supply chain (including raw materials, ingredients, [finished] products, packaging) and evaluated to identify and prioritize significant vulnerabilities for food fraud”, “Secondly, ‘appropriate control measures shall be put in place to reduce the risks’ from these vulnerabilities. These control measures can include monitoring strategy, a testing strategy, origin verification, specification management, supplier audits, and anti-counterfeit technologies. A clearly documented control plan outlines when, where and how to mitigate fraudulent activities.”)
GFSI formally defined a broad definition of Food Fraud to include adulteration, but also all fraud – explicitly including misbranding and stolen good (“Food Fraud, including the subcategory of economically motivated adulteration, is of growing concern. It is deception of consumers using food products, ingredients and packaging for economic gain and includes substitution, unapproved enhancements, misbranding, counterfeiting, stolen goods or others”) and it could be linked to public health issues (“The GFSI Board recognizes that the driver of a food fraud incident might be economic gain, but if a public health threat arises from the effects of an adulterated product, this will lead to a food safety incident.”)
Inscatech is the first and only company currently providing Food Fraud vulnerability assessments and control plans. Inscatech is a Food Fraud detection and prevention company. The only company of its kind, Inscatech has established a solid reputation in the food industry as both a pioneer and the sole provider of food fraud intelligence investigations, forensically based vulnerability assessments, supplier qualification examinations, validated supply chain mapping, and food fraud vulnerability control programs. Through its work with many of the largest food producers and retail grocery conglomerates globally, Inscatech is leading the food industry towards a harmonized and systematic approach to protecting the safety and authenticity of the global food supply.
For more information, please visit: www.inscatech.com or contact me directly.
Due to the great interest surrounding nanomaterials, the fights around a possible definition (mainly regarding the scale of these particles), and the recent evaluation of the antimicrobial action of silver nanoparticles, I find interesting this press release from DG Sanco.
Today, the European Commission and its non-food Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), have launched a public consultation on the preliminary opinion ‘Guidance on the Determination of Potential Health Effects of Nanomaterials Used in Medical Devices’.
The consultation will run until 03 October 2014. Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the scientific evidence of this preliminary opinion online:
Here you can find the preliminary opinion:
The aim of the opinion is to address the use of nanomaterials in medical devices and to provide information for risk assessors regarding specific aspects that need to be considered in the safety evaluation of nanomaterials. According to the EU Recommendation for the definition of a nanomaterial ( Commission Recommendation 2011/969/EU, EC 2011) any particulate substance with at least one dimension in the size range between 1 and 100 nm is considered a nanomaterial. These particles (nanoparticles) exhibit specific characteristics that differ from the characteristics of larger sized particles with the same chemical composition.
This Guidance is aimed at providing information to help with safety evaluation and risk assessment on the use of nanomaterials in medical devices and it should be considered in conjunction with the ISO 10993-1:2009 standard ‘Biological evaluation of medical devices’. The Guidance highlights the need for special considerations in relation to the safety evaluation of nanomaterials, in view of the possible distinct properties, interactions, and effects that may differ from conventional forms of the same materials.
For the risk evaluation of the use of nanomaterials in medical devices, the SCENIHR recommends a phased approach based on potential release and characteristics of the nanomaterials.
For more information on the work of the Commission’s independent scientific committees:
(Source: DG Sanco)
The FSA E.coli O157 control of cross-contamination guidance has been revised and updated to take into account the results from independent research into the effectiveness of disinfecting complex equipment, and the views of industry and local authority stakeholders. The aim of the guidance is to ensure that businesses manage the risk to consumer health from the presence of E.coli in food.
The revised guidance will be published for an eight-week review period (from 4th July to 29th August 2014), allowing businesses and others to provide comments on the revised guidance that they would like to be considered.
The revised guidance clarifies that:
- Businesses do not need to have separate areas for handling raw and ready to eat foods (RTE) where they can demonstrate that separation by time with effective cleaning and disinfection will manage the risk of cross-contamination.
- Less complex equipment, such as temperature probes, mixers and weighing scales, may be used for both raw and RTE foods subject to the business being able to demonstrate that such equipment will be effectively cleaned and disinfected between uses.
- It may now be possible to effectively clean and disinfect vacuum packers, slicers and mincers between uses as long as such machines are completely dismantled to allow all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned. In practice, however, it is unlikely to be practical for a business to regularly change the use of vacuum packers as a competent engineer would need to undertake what is a complicated dismantling and reassembling process. However, cleaning to allow a more permanent change of use, for example to re-commission and buy and sell second-hand vacuum packers, may be feasible. In the case of slicers and mincers, dismantling, cleaning and disinfecting may be more straightforward but is unlikely to be feasible during normal business operations. Businesses wishing to use such machines for raw and RTE foods would need to fully assess the risks and to demonstrate to the relevant local authority that cleaning between uses will provide effective controls.
As usual, I have to thank you Foodservice Consultant, and the editors Michael Jones and Ellie Clayton, for publishing again one of my articles on their magazine. This time we talk briefly about allergens labeling in of the new EU FIC Regulation (n. 1169/2011).
We have a well established mutual cooperation, and my presence on their magazine/newsletter will be quarterly.
Foodservice Consultant is a quarterly publication for worldwide members of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), and is also distributed to an additional audience of 50,000 senior decision makers from the hospitality, leisure and construction sectors. Foodservice Consultant features interviews with leading FCSI consultants, hoteliers, chefs and architects and addresses topics ranging from sustainability, cuisine and nutrition to design, regulation and technology.
Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) is the premier association promoting professionalism in foodservice and hospitality consulting. With over 1,300 members in over 46 countries, FCSI members offer a wide range of consulting services including concept development, feasibility studies, food safety, design, marketing, operations and training.
It has been a real pleasure working again with them!
A Commission report published today presents key findings on the controls carried out at Europe’s borders to prevent harmful plant pests from entering the EU market.
This EUROPHYT report reveals that 7.000 consignments mainly imported from non-EU countries were intercepted in 2013. In about one third of the cases insects, fungi, bacteria or viruses were found; the number of interceptions with such harmful organisms increased by 18%, compared to 2012. Fruit and vegetables fall amongst the highest category of consignments that were prevented from entering the EU marketplace. These included mainly mangoes, gourds, basil, aubergines, guavas and peppers, coming from India, Pakistan, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Bangladesh. As a result of specific EU safeguard measures, the number of interceptions from Thailand, Vietnam and Israel decreased significantly in 2013. There were over 2.000 interceptions of wood packaging material, originating mainly from Russia, China, USA, Belarus and India. EUROPHYT is an IT rapid alert system, managed by the Commission, which facilitates the cross-border flow of information and notifications between national authorities in the EU and Switzerland.
What is EUROPHYT?
EUROPHYT brings together the words ‘European’ and ‘Phytosanitary’ and describes a notification and rapid alert system dealing with Interceptions for plant health reasons of consignments of plants and plant products imported into the EU or being traded within the EU itself. EUROPHYT is established and run by the Directorate General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission.
With the increase in trade over the last decades, the risk of introducing new pests and diseases has increased and, given favourable weather conditions and a lack of natural enemies, they can spread and lead to environmental damage, destruction of native plant species, substantial economic losses in agricultural production and an increase in the use of pesticides. Therefore measures to prevent their introduction and spread are essential. EUROPHYT provides an essential support for the implementation of preventative measures by ensuring that the data on risks to plant health from trade in plants and plant products is up-to-date and accurate
For knowing more:
(Source: DG Sanco)
New market research conducted by TNS for the Israel Society of Hypertension shows that 62% of consumers who watch TV eat savory snacks, while 50% eat a variety of salted nuts. During football games like world soccer championship, sodium consumption typically increases dramatically. Salt of the Earth created a low-sodium salt designed to reduce sodium up to 60% in savory formulations using such popular ingredients as peanuts pistachio, almonds and seeds.
“Consumers prefer healthier products but won’t compromise on organoleptic properties like flavor and mouthfeel,” says Giorit Carmi, Marketing Manager of Salt of the Earth. “Eating nuts while watching sports is a core part of our culture—even more common than drinking beer. We identified this niche sports fan market as one of the premium targets for reducing sodium consumption. Zarubi Pitzuchai Hagalil, one of the leading nut companies in Israel, recently added it to their line with great success. Our next step is to introducing this low-sodium ingredient into the global market.”
The new low-sodium ingredient keeps the same salty taste in a formulation, but has much less sodium. It contains high-value potassium chloride derived from the Dead Sea, plus natural, sustainable Red Sea salt. Salt of the Earth relies on Mother Nature’s powers to produce sea salt, without chemical processing and with a minimal ecological footprint. Red Sea salt is rich in essential minerals and microelements that are vital to well-being.
This outstanding sodium-reduction ingredient is heat stable and enables a “low-sodium” label claim. It contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and is produced under strict inspection to ensure potency, purity and safety. Zarubi tested the ingredient in multiple lab applications using several kinds of nuts and based on these results decided to launch the low salty nuts line in Israel.
“The test results should encourage savory snack makers to develop low-sodium nut snacks,” adds Carmi. “Nuts and seeds are highly nutritious, but a key challenge is to reduce sodium without impaction salty flavor.”
This Regulation, implementation of Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 (“quality package”), establishes the conditions necessary to use the optional quality term “mountain product”.
In particular, in order to prevent consumers being misled, it refers to products of animal origin (Article 1), feed (Article 2), apiculture products (Article 3), products of plant origin (Article 4), other ingredients (Article 5) and to the processing operations that can be carried out outside of the mountain areas, but not as far as 30km from these areas (Article 6).
Article 1 – Products of animal origin
1. The term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products produced by animals in mountain areas as defined in Article 31(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and processed in such areas.
2. The term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products made from animals that are reared for at least the last two thirds of their life in those mountain areas, if the products are processed in such areas.
3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2, the term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products made from transhumant animals that have been reared for at least one quarter of their life in transhumance grazing on pastures in mountain areas.
Article 2 – Feedstuffs
1. For the purposes of Article 31(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, feedstuffs for farm animals shall be deemed to come essentially from mountain areas if the proportion of the annual animal diet that cannot be produced in mountain areas, expressed as a percentage of dry matter, does not exceed 50 % and, in the case of ruminants, 40 %.
2. By way of derogation from paragraph 1, as regards pigs, the proportion of feedstuffs that cannot be produced in mountain areas, expressed as a percentage of dry matter, shall not exceed 75 % of the annual animal diet.
3. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to feedstuffs for transhumant animals referred to in Article 1(3) when reared outside mountain areas.
Article 3 – Products of beekeeping
1. The term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products of beekeeping if the bees have collected the nectar and the pollen only in mountain areas.
2. By way of derogation from Article 31(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, sugar fed to bees shall not be required to come from mountain areas.
Article 4 – Products of plant origin
By way of derogation from Article 31(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, the term ‘mountain product’ may be applied to products of plant origin only if the plant is grown in mountain areas as defined in Article 31(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012.
Article 5 – Ingredients
When used in products referred to in Articles 1 and 4, the following ingredients may come from outside mountain areas, provided that they do not represent more than 50 % of the total weight of the ingredients:
products not listed in Annex I to the Treaty; and
herbs, spices and sugar.
Article 6 – Processing operations outside mountain areas
1. By way of derogation from Article 31(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and Article 1(1) and (2) of this Regulation, the following processing operations may take place outside mountain areas, provided that the distance from the mountain area in question does not exceed 30 km:
processing operations for the production of milk and milk products in processing facilities in place on 3 January 2013;
slaughtering of animals and cutting and deboning of carcasses;
pressing of olive oil.
2. As regards products processed on their territory, Member States may determine that the derogation in paragraph 1, point (a) will not apply or that the processing facilities must be located within a distance, to be specified, of less than 30 km from the mountain area in question.
Entry into force and application: June 26th, 2014
The RASFF celebrates his 35 years launching a new service and publishing the 2013 Annual Report. Launched in June 2014, the RASFF consumers’ portal is a consumer-friendly internet tool providing latest information on food recall notices. It includes also public health warnings issued by food safety authorities and food companies. By using this free tool, EU consumers are able to identify food that has been flagged in the system allowing them to make more informed choices. By selecting any EU country, the user can view the list of recent notices provided by member countries or business operators on consumer recalls. The information can be consulted in the “Published” section of the portal. After a four week period, notifications will be removed from portal. Portal features will be further developed and improved based on users’ feedback.
What about the report? Here some key features:
- In 2013, a total of 3.205original notifications were transmitted, of which 596 alert, 442 information for follow up, 705 information for attention and 1.462 border rejections;
- Overall decreasing of the notifications: 4,9 %. It is the first year that we face a decreasing in the last decade;
- Italy is the top notifying country (534). About the country of origin most issues come from China (433), India (257), Turkey (226), Brazil and Spain (187) and Poland (163).The Commission rejected 231 notifications because RASFF notifications’ criteria were not met. It is an increasing of 245% compared to 2012;
- More info about the “horsemeat scandal” and why the Commission used the RASFF although there were doubts about the serious risk for human health;
- Between the case study you can read more about the hepatitis A virus in frozen berry mixes from Italy, with raw material from Bulgaria, Canada, Poland and Serbia;
- Aflatoxins notifications are consistently decreasing, food supplements from third countries are certain an emerging problem.
High interest in protein content and high-protein lines across the food and drinks market is continuing to develop, despite the fact that most European and North American consumers already get enough protein in their diets. This will be just one of the areas addressed by Innova Market Insights at its “Taste the Trend” Pavilion (Booth #3651) at the IFT Food Expo in New Orleans, June 21-24.
According to Innova Market Insights, the protein trend is driven by increasing health concerns – primarily weight management – plus the move of sports and performance products into the mainstream and targeted at the more generally active, rather than just athletes and sportsmen. Another trend on the rise is the Paleo diet, focusing on lean protein, while avoiding processed foods and sugars.
“The time is right for protein innovation,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. Williams cites a number of drivers, including the need to feed a growing global population, an alarming rise in sarcopenia (declining muscle mass, particularly among an aging population), and the economic and environmental costs of existing protein sources. “Proteins have diverse application potential, with opportunities for alternative vegetarian options, and new protein sources – such as microalgae – alongside existing and novel dairy-based and vegetable sources, such as soy, beans and grains,” she adds.
Innova Market Insights data indicate that nearly 3% of global food and beverage launches in the 12 months ending 31 March, 2014, were marketed on a “high-protein” or “source-of-protein” positioning, rising to 6% in the US.
Demand for whey protein specifically is soaring as a result of growing demand in certain Asian markets, as well as its rising popularity as a natural, healthy ingredient, particularly in sports, medical and infant nutrition, and in weight management. While vegetables lead the list for the number of published protein patents in food and drinks, whey has risen from eighth position in 2012 to third position in 2013. At the same time, the number of nut and seed protein patents has also risen sharply, from single figures in 2012 to more than 200 in 2013. Even more exciting has been the strong activity in patent actions relating to algae-derived proteins.
EU and US progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance
The European Commission (EC) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publish a progress report on the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR). The report outlines the advances made during the first TATFAR implementation period of 2011 to 2013, and renews the commitment of US and EU health authorities to pursue specific goals in their joint battle against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Notable outcomes of TATFAR activities for the reporting period include:
- Adoption of procedures for timely international communication of critical events that might indicate new resistance trends with global public health implications
- Publication of a report on the 2011 workshop, “Challenges and solutions in the development of new diagnostic tests to combat antimicrobial resistance”on the TATFAR website
- Joint presentations to the scientific community to increase awareness on the available funding opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic
Why a Transatlantic Taskforce?
Antimicrobial resistance is increasingly recognised as serious cross-border health threat of global dimension which requires a multi-sectorial and global response. Studies estimate that antimicrobial-resistant infections result in at least 25 000 deaths in 29 countries in Europe and 23 000 deaths in the US every year. In addition, antimicrobial resistance costs the EU and the US billions every year in avoidable healthcare costs and productivity losses.
With these factors in mind, TATFAR was created following the 2009 US–EU Presidential Summit. The taskforce aims to improve collaboration between the EU and US in three key areas:1) appropriate therapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in medical and veterinary communities, 2) prevention of healthcare and community-associated drug-resistant infections, and 3) strategies for improving the pipeline of new antimicrobial drugs.
Although significant progress in reducing specific types of infections has been made in the EU and the US, the global problem of AMR continues to grow. Therefore, the original mandate of the taskforce that ran through 2013 has recently been extended for at least two additional years.
TATFAR originally identified and adopted 17 recommendations for collaboration between the EU and the US, where common actions can deliver the best results in the prevention and control of AMR. Of these, 15 will continue, along with one new recommendation, for the EU and US partner agencies to focus on moving forward.
Forthcoming publications from the taskforce during 2014 that will provide a foundation for further specific joint collaborative actions include:
- A report summarising the strategies hospitals in the EU and US should include as part of their programs to improve antimicrobial prescribing practices
- A joint publication summarising the existing methods for measuring antimicrobial use in hospital settings
- A joint publication describing the need for new vaccines for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)
- A joint publication comparing the results of the EU and US point prevalence surveys, which are used to estimate the burden of HAIs in each population.
For more information on the fight against AMR in the EU:
(Source: DG Sanco Website)
This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have on recall from consumers in EU in the information for attention notifications:
- Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in fresh rucola, following company’s own check. Origin Norway with raw materials from Germany (via Denmark), notified by Norway.
Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:
- Biotoxins: Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins in mussels, following an official control on the market. Origin Greece, notified by Greece, distributed also to Italy;
- Biotoxins: Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins – okadaic acid in frozen mussels, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by France;
- Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient in cake with lemon creme, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Slovenia;
- Allergens: undeclared gluten in rice and corn snack with cheddar flavour, following an official control on the market. Origin Czech Republic, notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Hungary and Slovakia;
- Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in smoked salmon, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland, notified by Italy;
- Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked haring in vegetable oil, following an official control on the market. Origin Latvia, notified by Hungary.
We have also a seizure, following an information for follow up notification, of food supplements from United States, because of the presence of unauthorised novel food ingredient Synsepalum dulcificum. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
Amongst border rejections we have Salmonella Spp. in turkey meat preparations from Brazil, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen lamb from New Zealand, aflatoxins in pistachio nuts with shell and in pistachio kernels from Iran, in groundnuts from China, in blanched groundnuts and groundnuts kernels from Brazil, in boiled dried figs from Turkey and in whole chilli peppers from India. Carbendazim in fresh peppers from Turkey, dried sultanas from Iran infested with insects (cockroaches and spiders), benzo(a)pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked sardinellas from Ghana, mercury in chilled sea bream from Egypt, cadmium in frozen pacific saury from Taiwan, in frozen squids from Argentina and in frozen whole cooked mussels from Chile. Too high content of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF in dehydrated pineapple core from Thailand, unauthorised use of colour E 102 – tartrazine in noodles from Malaysia, E 521 – aluminium sodium sulphate unauthorised in frozen prefried breaded prawns from Vietnam, residue levels above MRL for ciprofloxacin and for oxytetracycline in frozen peeled raw shrimps from Vietnam, unauthorised novel food ingredient clinoptilolite and unauthorised substances yohimbine, synephrine, 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA) and methylsynephrine in food supplements from the United States.
For feed, we have an alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market:
- Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Blockley in dog chews, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland, notified by Sweden.
For food contact materials we have an alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market:
- Migration: inner coating peeling off from baking moulds, following an official control on the market. Origin Germany, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, France and United Kingdom.
We have also border rejections for migration of chromium from stainless steel kettle for boiling milk from China, via Hong Kong, and from inox knives from China.