Skip to content

Food recalls in EU – Week 26

yohimbine-bark-extract-41-powder

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: undeclared gluten in crispy fried onions from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland;

– Composition: unauthorised substance yohimbine (0.5 mg/item) in food supplement from the United States, via Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Cyprus;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Migration: high content of DEHP – di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (93000; 120000 mg/kg – ppm) in placemat from Denmark, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Faeroe Islands, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in seasoning with vegetables from Croatia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria, distributed also to Germany and Slovakia;

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furaltadone (AMOZ) (0.89; 2.0; 1.47 µg/kg – ppb) in chilled rainbow trout from Greece, following an official control on the market. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Romania.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Newport (presence/25g) in turkey breast from Germany, following an official control in a non member country. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market/from recipients:

– Composition: high content of morphine (59.13 mg/kg – ppm) in ground poppy seeds packaged in Slovakia, following company’s own check. Notified by Czech Republic;

– Heavy metals: mercury (1.4 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish from Portugal, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– Industrial contaminants: dioxins (76.94 pg WHO TEQ/g) in cod liver from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Italy, Ireland and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Bacillus cereus (>120 000 CFU/g) and Bacillus cereus enterotoxin (2.65 µg/kg – ppb) in preserved red bean curd from China, following am official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Spain;

– Pesticide residues: ethephon (4.6 mg/kg – ppm) in pineapples from Benin, via France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of expiry date on frozen squid (Loligo chinensis) from China
  • absence of health certificate(s) for groundnuts from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 32; Tot. = 36 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 41; Tot. = 52 / B1 = 12; Tot. = 14 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Argentina
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 9.9 µg/kg – ppb) in salted roasted pistachios from Turkey
  • attempt to illegally import (hidden under carab beans.) dried fish and shrimps from Ghana
  • poor temperature control – rupture of the cold chain – (totally defrosted) of frozen squid (Loligo spp.) from India, and from India via Vietnam
  • poor temperature control (+ 7.2; 5.2; 12.8; 10.2; 12.2; 13.2 °C) of chilled tuna (Thunnus albacares) from the Philippines
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (presence /25g) in frozen boneless beef from Brazil
  • spoilage (decomposition) of chilled grouper (Epinephelus guaza) from Egypt and of frozen salted chicken from Thailand
  • too high content of E 211 – sodium benzoate (1000 mg/kg – ppm), E 202 – potassium sorbate (1000; 2000; 800 mg/kg – ppm), E 385 – calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra acetate (CDEDTA), E 321 – butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) (presence) and E 223 – Sodium metabisulphite (presence) unauthorised in preserved vegetables from Mexico
  • traces of egg (0.063 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen threadfin bream (Nemipterus spp) from Thailand
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.4 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance profenofos (0.07 mg/item) in peppers in brine from India

Conference – Expo Milan – Food and Agricultural Markets Instability: Policies and Regulation Perspectives

Chiostro_UC

I am pleased to signal you to the upcoming conference titled “Food and Agricultural Markets Instability: Policies and Regulation Perspectives” during Expo Milan 2015.

The conference is jointly organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre,  Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the 7th Framework Programme Project ULYSSES (Understanding and coping with food markets volatility towards more stable World and EU food systems).

The conference is part of the activities promoted by the Scientific Committee for Expo 2015 and the European Union, in which all the Milan Universities are actively involved. During the conference, international experts will discuss how food and agricultural markets can become more stable, and what policies and regulatory frameworks should be implemented to make world food systems more efficient, sustainable and predictable.
The conference will take place at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Room Pio XI, Largo Gemelli 1, Milan) on July 9, and at the EU Pavilion at Expo – Room Europa on  July 10.

The final confirmation of participation for those who request an invitation for July 10, guarantees a Free Expo Entry ticket for the work session that will be held at the EU Pavilion in Expo.

The program can be downloaded here.

For more details and to register, please visit this website or go to the registration page.

Follow-up to the fraud of crushed almond shells in cumin: “Bart Ground Cumin” recall rescinded

659_26

On April 28, we reported the news of the detection of crushed almond shells in spices, especially cumin, paprika and various mix, at a level not yet identified of the supply chain, with the clear aim of financial gain. On this occasion, the results of the analysis were considered unreliable by Bart Ingredients, a British food company, which has highlighted the possibility of “false-positives” attributed to another ingredient, the “mahaleb”, extracted from a variety of cherry tree.

The 29th June, the Food Standards Agency has rescinded a recall of a batch of ground cumin sold by the Bart Ingredients Company. The affected product had tested positive for the presence of almond protein which is not declared on the label. This follow the same decision by CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) on other cases: few weeks ago, indeed, the Canadian authority detected the same issue.

Additional testing by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist (LGC) has shown a spice called mahaleb was present and not almond protein. Mahaleb and almond are from the same ‘Prunus’ family of trees and shrubs. However, mahaleb is not one of the 14 allergens identified in food allergen legislation. There is no evidence that the contamination was a result of fraudulent activity.

The level of almond protein detected was considered to be a risk to people with an allergy to almond. The company subsequently produced test results from samples of the same material that contradicted the positive result. 

Will Creswell, Head of Consumer Protection at the FSA, said: ‘Throughout this incident we have carried out protein and DNA testing, using accredited laboratories and validated methods, and both indicated the presence of almond protein in this product. Consumer safety is the FSA’s highest priority and our risk assessment at the time was that this product could potentially harm people with an allergy to almond. We were correct to ask Bart Ingredients to take precautionary action. Now that new evidence has come to light we are able to rescind this particular recall.

‘The FSA will now work with public analysts, analytical scientists, the industry and local authorities to review these testing methodologies. As with all significant incidents, we will also work together to review our actions and identify what lessons can be learned.’

LGC used a type of analysis called ‘liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry’ which, in combination with DNA testing, found that mahaleb could produce a false positive result for almond protein in cumin. This is the first time researchers have identified this type of reaction.

Michael Walker, Consultant Referee Analyst in the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, said: ‘This has been a pioneering and resource intensive scientific investigation involving a large multidisciplinary team of scientists. Almond and other Prunus species in spices had received little attention. We now know that ELISA detection is useful but only as a screening test. There are unusually high similarities in the DNA and protein of these related species that make it very difficult to tell them apart in spices. But thanks to the expertise of the molecular biologists and protein chemists in LGC we have developed what is, to the best of our knowledge, the world’s first DNA test for mahaleb and discovered subtle mass spectrometry differences to distinguish almond and mahaleb proteins.’

There have been several other recalls in the UK during this incident, the majority of which have been for undeclared almond in paprika products.  There is currently no evidence of cross-reactivity due to mahaleb in paprika. However, the FSA is doing further research to clarify this.

All other recalls in the UK associated with almond contamination of paprika still stand as the evidence presently available to the FSA suggests the affected products remain a potential health risk to people with an allergy to almond.

Hinoman reveals the smallest veggie protein to launch at IFT

Hinoman reveals the smallest veggie protein

June 29, Tel Aviv—Hinoman, Ltd., announces the official launch of Mankai, a vegetable whole-protein ingredient with high nutritional value, at IFT, Chicago, July 11-14.

Mankai is an aquacultured source of vegetable protein with exceptional nutritional value. The vitamin and mineral-rich Mankai plant is a native of Southeast Asia, and has been enjoyed in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam for generations. Hinoman’s hydroponic technology enables it to grow the product faster, and in large quantities, without pesticides, while guaranteeing a high protein content of at least 45% by dry weight.

Mankai is the world’s smallest vegetable—0.5 mm (less than 1/5 inch). Due to its small particle size, it can be easily incorporated in its natural form into food or beverage applications. “The Mankai plant boasts the closest protein profile to animal protein,” explains Udi Alroy, VP of Marketing and Business Development for Hinoman. “The paradox is that this tiny, single-strain microgreen delivers huge health benefits to a wide range of market targets and addresses not only the race for new protein sources but also offers perfect solutions to trendy diets, such as Paleo  and vegan.”

Protein quality depends on digestibility, amino acid profile and content. A high-quality protein contains all the essential amino acids (those the body must source externally), with a high proportion of the branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Mankai is rich in vitamins A and E, the B vitamins, plus minerals and fatty acids. Mankai’s precision cultivation method produces reliable and consistent nutrient levels, answering all “free-from” requirements and enabling a clean label.

“All the protein parameters are high in Mankai,” says Ron Salpeter, CEO for Hinoman. “With its high PDCAAS rate of digestibility—0.89—it is more potent than super vegetables, such as spinach, spirulina and kale. Mankai has a light vegetal flavor, superior to algae-derived ingredients in the market.”

Albenga 2.7.15 – Official controls and food fraud course at the Savona Chamber of Commerce

20110228182023

On 2nd July 2015 I will be in Albenga for a full day practical seminar on how to defend your business from official controls, non compliance events and food frauds.

The course is hosted and organized by Certiquality, certification body, accredited to provide enterprises with certification services covering Quality, Environmental and Safety Management Systems, as well as Product Certification, hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce Analytical Lab and supported by Confindustria and our Ministry of Agriculture ICQRF (Institute for food frauds and quality schemes infringements repression).

Aim of the course is to offer to the food business operators the instruments to comprehend which are their rights and their obligations during the official controls and the administrative and/or criminal proceedings which follow the non-compliance.

We will analyze the main issues linked to the sampling and testing phase and how to manage an inspection from the competent authority, which kind of measures the competent authorities can apply (i.e. seizures), how to handle a food recall and how to prevent unintentional frauds (i.e. Horsemeat scandal), with practical examples.

The EU Commission is working on a revision of the Reg. (CE) n. 882/2004 on official controls on foodstuffs, and within this context is also evaluating if establishing a common definition of “food frauds” and how to build a credible enforcement system to prevent such incidents.

It is of pivotal importance to be updated on those aspects, since the publication of the new Regulation (in origin fixed for the end of 2015) probably will be in the first half of 2016.

You can see the full program here and register at the following page.

Language of the course: Italian. For readers from foreign countries I remember that I can organize also sessions via webinar/distance learning.

Extensive case of mislabeling: Investigation alleges Whole Foods Overcharges

whole-foods-1024x768

New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) said Wednesday 24 June that an ongoing investigation on Whole Foods Market stores has found systemic overcharging of its customers for pre-packaged food.

The investigation by the DCA tested 80 different types of pre-packaged food from the city’s Whole Foods locations (eight were open at the time of the investigation; a ninth has since opened). The inspection found all categories included products with incorrect weights, which led to overcharges that ranged from 80 cents for a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for coconut shrimp. The overcharges were especially prevalent in packages that had been labelled with exactly the same weight when it would be practically impossible for all of the packages to weigh the same amount. The investigation also examined vegetable platters, nuts, chicken tenders and berries.

The DCA added, in addition, that 89 percent of the tested packages were not in line with the federal standards for the maximum amount “that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight”.

Whole Foods said in a statement: “We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations and we are vigorously defending ourselves. We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands. Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us.”

Both Whole Foods and DCA declined to discuss specific numbers, citing the fact that the investigation is ongoing.

Food recalls in EU – Week 25/2015

pouring milk in a glass isolated

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

Allergens: undeclared soya and celery  in canned vegetable ravioli in tomato & herb sauce from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Heavy metals: migration of cadmium (mean value 0.63 mg/item) and of lead (mean value: 5.6 mg/item) from tumblers from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland, distributed also to Estonia, Russia and Ukraine;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in sausages from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Food additives and flavourings: unauthorised use of colour E 127 – erythrosine (56 mg/kg – ppm) in cupcakes from South Africa, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to France, Luxembourg and Netherlands;

– Non pathogenic micro-organisms: cranberry juice from Denmark infested with moulds, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Germany, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market/from recipients:

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient, soya and lactose in acai ice covered with chocolate from Slovakia, following company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium;

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient (protein: 7.2; 13.5 mg/kg – ppm) in biscuits with orange jelly from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Spain;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in chilled raw pork meat from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France

– Mycotoxins: fumonisins (B1: 2319.84; sum of FB1, FB2: 2642.47 µg/kg – ppb) in popcorn from Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (140/g) in cheese with bacon from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes ( in raw milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in chilled ham from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Switzerland and United Kingdom.

4. Seizures:

– In Norway we had a seizure for unauthorised placing on the market of cod liver oil, following an official control on the market. Notified by Norway, distributed also to Denmark and Finland;

– In United Kingdom, we had a seizure for illegal import of mint from Vietnam, following a border control. Notified by United Kingdom.

5. Border rejections:

  • acetamiprid (0.092 mg/kg – ppm) and dimethoate (0.34 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 21.50; Tot. = 23.58 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Turkey and from Iran, via Turkey (Tot. = 47.5 µg/kg – ppb)
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 251; Tot. = 284 µg/kg – ppb) in rice from Thailand
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.5 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from China
  • clothianidin (0.22 mg/kg – ppm) in chili peppers from the Dominican Republic
  • dried apricots from Turkey infested with moulds
  • fenamiphos (0.167 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • live insects in basmati rice from India
  • mandipropamid (0.052 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh pea pods from Kenya
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of chromium (6.2 mg/kg – ppm) and of manganese (2.2 mg/kg – ppm) from steel tools for barbecue from China
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials) too high content of chromium (0.4 mg/kg – ppm) in tongs for spaghetti from China
  • omethoate (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in mangos from Brazil
  • poor temperature control (>-12 °C) of frozen chicken from Ukraine
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel/paan leaves, sesame seeds and hulled sesame seeds from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx+ and eae+) in chilled boneless beef from Brazil
  • unauthorised irradiation (thermoluminescence) of red rice extract from China
  • unauthorised substance anthraquinone (0.047 mg/kg – ppm) in black tea from China
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (1.3 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruits
  • unauthorised substance chlorfenapyr (0.017 mg/kg – ppm) in papayas from Brazil
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.18 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria

Written QeA to EU Commission – Performance-Enhancing Substances in Foods for Sportspeople

Urban sports - fitness in the city

Question for written answer to the Commission

Alain Cadec (PPE) – 15 April 2015

Subject: Foods for sportspeople

All the EU Member States have agreed to take the steps required to enforce the international agreements concluded in cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency, the aim of which is to ensure that foodstuffs and supplements intended for sportspeople are completely free from performance-enhancing substances.

The lack of harmonisation at EU level in this area has meant that Member States have taken a range of approaches when establishing quality assurance systems designed to ensure that foods intended for sportspeople do not contain performance-enhancing substances. This is particularly true when it comes to labelling. The result has been a proliferation of standards and logos, and confusion for consumers.

Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 requires the Commission to submit a report to Parliament and the Council by 20 July 2015 on the advisability of introducing specific provisions relating to food intended for sportspeople.

Will this report cover the issue of ensuring that foods intended for sportspeople are free from performance-enhancing substances? Does the Commission intend to stress the need for the provisions concerning dietary requirements and those relating to performance-enhancing drugs to be consistent?

Given the current confusion, action should be taken to ensure that foods intended for sports people do not contain any performance-enhancing substances.

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 15 June 2015

Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes and total diet replacement for weight control(1) requires the Commission, after consulting the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), to present to the European Parliament and to the Council a report on the necessity, if any, of provisions for food intended for sportspeople. Such a report may, if necessary, be accompanied by an appropriate legislative proposal. As specified in Recital 33 of that regulation, the main focus of the report should be whether provisions are necessary to ensure the protection of consumers.

In preparation of the report, the Commission has requested an external contractor to carry out a study for gathering relevant information, among others, about the current market of food intended for sportspeople. This exercise includes extensive consultation of relevant stakeholders and competent authorities of the Member States. On the basis of the study and after having consulted EFSA, the Commission will present its report as requested by Regulation (EU) No 609/2013. The outcome of the report cannot at the moment be anticipated.

(1) OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 35.

(Source: EU Parliament)

FDA ruling on Trans-Fats

trans_fats_

FDA released its’ final determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). The determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from stakeholders during the public comment period.

PHOs are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods. In FDA view, removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year.

Implementation

FDA has set a compliance period of three years. This will allow food companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and/or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs. Many companies have already been working to remove PHOs from processed foods and the FDA anticipates that many may eliminate them ahead of the three-year compliance date.

It’s important to note that trans fat will not be completely gone from foods because it occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, and is present at very low levels in other edible oils.

The FDA encourages consumers seeking to reduce trans fat intake to check a food’s ingredient list to determine whether or not it contains partially hydrogenated oil.

Background

In January 2006, FDA required the food industry to declare the amount of trans fat in food on the Nutrition Facts label. FDA data indicate that many processed foods have been reformulated to reduce the amount of trans fat since the requirement was instituted, but a substantial number of products still contain PHOs.

One of FDA’s core regulatory functions is ensuring that food, including all substances added to food, is safe. In November 2013, FDA made a preliminary determination that PHOs are not “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in food. FDA opened a 60-day public comment period on this measure to solicit data and information on a number of issues, including:

1. Whether FDA should finalize its tentative determination that PHOs are no longer GRAS;
2. How long it would take producers to reformulate food products to eliminate PHOs.

The comment period was then extended an additional 60 days and closed March 8, 2014.

The final determination was released June 16, 2015. This determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from all stakeholders received during the public comment period (see Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils, June 2015).

To learn more about trans fat, see also the FDA Trans Fat page.

EU Situation

In EU art. 30.7 of the FIC Regulation (“Food Information to Consumers” Reg. (EU) n. 1169/2011) says that “by 13 December 2014, the Commission, taking into account scientific evidence and experience acquired in Member States, shall submit a report on the presence of trans fats in foods and in the overall diet of the Union population. The aim of the report shall be to assess the impact of appropriate means that could enable consumers to make healthier food and overall dietary choices or that could promote the provision of healthier food options to consumers, including, among others, the provision of information on trans fats to consumers or restrictions on their use. The Commission shall accompany this report with a legislative proposal, if appropriate.”

Today the report has not been submitted yet and the Commission has been deeply criticized, especially from consumers associations for the unexpected delay. As a matter of fact in this situation is not even possible to declare voluntary the trans fat value in the EU format of the nutrition declaration (while in USA is mandatory from 2006).

Here below, you can find the definition of Trans fatty acids (TFA) and the advice given by EFSA in a 2010 Scientific Opinion:

“Trans fatty acids are not synthesised by the human body and are not required in the diet. Therefore, no Population Reference Intake, Average Requirement, or Adequate Intake is set. Consumption of diets containing trans-monounsaturated fatty acids, like diets containing mixtures of saturated fatty acids, increases blood total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in a dose-dependent manner, compared with consumption of diets containing cis-monounsaturated fatty acids or cispolyunsaturated fatty acids. Consumption of diets containing trans-monounsaturated fatty acids also results in reduced blood HDL cholesterol concentrations and increases the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio. The available evidence indicates that trans fatty acids from ruminant sources have adverse effects on blood lipids and lipoproteins similar to those from industrial sources when consumed in equal amounts. Prospective cohort studies show a consistent relationship between higher intakes of trans fatty acids and increased risk of coronary heart disease. The available evidence is insufficient to establish whether there is a difference between ruminant and industrial trans fatty acids consumed in equivalent amounts on the risk of coronary heart disease. Dietary trans fatty acids are provided by several fats and oils that are also important sources of essential fatty acids and other nutrients. Thus, there is a limit to which the intake of trans fatty acids can be lowered without compromising adequacy of intake of essential nutrients. Therefore, the Panel concludes that trans fatty acids intake should be as low as is possible within the context of a nutritionally adequate diet. Limiting the intake of trans fatty acids should be considered when establishing nutrient goals and recommendations.”

 

Food recalls in EU – Week 24/2015

Polenta5

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: traces of gluten (presence) in variety of chocolate flavoured brownie cake bars from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland;

– Foreign bodies: plastic fragments in milk chocolate bar with whole hazelnuts from Poland, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany;

– Heavy metals: mercury (1.55 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled vacuum packed swordfish fillets (Xiphias gladius) from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria;

– Mycotoxins: fumonisins (6738.8; 10500 µg/kg – ppb) in corn meal from Portugal, following an official control on the market. Notified by Luxembourg;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in food for enteral use for children from the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany;

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in wine from South Africa, following company’s own check. Notified by Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Campylobacter jejuni (11 positive samples: 800, 100,400, 200, 300, 3100, 9200, 400, 700, 600, 300 CFU/g) in fresh chicken from the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Germany.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market/from recipients:

– Composition: unauthorised substances progesterone (2.56 mg/kg – ppm) and androstenedione (3.02 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from India, via Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Czech Republic;

– Composition: high content of iodine (2423 mg/kg – ppm) in dried seaweed from Japan, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Netherlands and United Kingdom;

– Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene (2.7 µg/kg – ppb) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH4 sum: 15.8 µg/kg – ppb) in chilled bacon from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Estonia;

– Mycotoxins: ochratoxin A (19.3 µg/kg – ppb) in raisins from Turkey, packaged in Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/g) in raw milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and United Kingdom;

4. Seizures:

In Italy, following an official control on the market, we had a seizure for E 450 – diphosphate (2.37 g/kg) unauthorised in chilled vacuum packed yellow fin tuna from Spain.

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) for curry leaves from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 11.6; Tot. = 13.1 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled peanuts, in blanched peanuts (B1 = 3.0 µg/kg – ppb), in blanched groundnut kernels (B1 = 4.5 µg/kg – ppb) and in groundnuts (Tot. = 8.7 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 13.6; Tot. = 14.4 µg/kg – ppb) in chili powder from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 18.1; Tot. = 18.9 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled bitter almonds from Morocco
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19; Tot. = 24 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled almonds from Australia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 22.7; Tot. = 24.3 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.6 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Brazil
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 25 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled hazelnut from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.41 mg/kg – ppm) and dimethoate (1.9 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances profenofos (0.08 mg/kg – ppm) and dichlorvos (4.6 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • deoxynivalenol (DON) (1240 µg/kg – ppb) in popcorn from Bosnia and Herzegovina and in popcorn (2308 µg/kg – ppb) from Serbia
  • dried vegetables from China infested with moulds and with insects
  • fenamiphos (0.096 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh pepper from Turkey
  • poor hygienic state of red peppers from Tunisia
  • poor temperature control (> 12.2 °C) of chilled seabass (Dicentrarchus spp) and chilled tuna (Thunnus spp) from Mauritania
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella Stanley and acephate (0.035 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen okra from Vietnam
  • too high content of colour E 102 – tartrazine, of colour E 122 – azorubine, of colour E 129 – Allura Red AC and of colour E 133 – Brilliant Blue FCF (combined level of dyes > 300 mg/kg – ppm) in marshmallows from China
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient Siraitia Grosvenorii in food supplement from the United States

(Source: EU RASFF Portal)

Book – Food waste: a multidisciplinary approach

cop

The monograph provides a multidisciplinary overview on food waste.

In a moment of fusions between different university departments, that aggregate scholars of different backgrounds, the ability to create dialogue and to integrate methodologies and proposals can lead to results more content-rich and scientifically more complex than those that individually could be reached.

It is with this purpose that are presented contributions on the subject of several scholars (experts in commodities, food technologists, statisticians and sociologists) that, thanks to their skills, contribute to outline the scenario in which consumers and companies have to act.

The underlying theme is the identification of tools and strategies that the food business operators and consumers can implement in order to contain the waste. Aim of the study, therefore, is not only to identify ways of managing food waste once it has been created, but also to offer something to think about how this can be prevented.

Edited by Erica Varese – co-authors: Valentina Alessandria, Alessandro Bonadonna, Stefania Buffagni, Anna Lo Presti, Maria Cristina Martinengo, Luca Giorgio Carlo Rolle, Erica Varese, Giuseppe Zeppa, Anna Zimelli.

You can buy the book here and download the brochure (in Italian) here.

FVO report – Canada: meat and meat products for export in EU

doublerafter-cattle-drives

The report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Canada from 2 to 15 May 2014.

The objective of the audit was to evaluate the capacity of the Canadian competent authorities (CA), the Canadian Food Safety Authority (CFIA) to implement and to enforce the sanitary measures and the control systems put in place to fulfil the requirements for fresh meat, meat products, minced meat and meat preparations and casings for human consumption intended for export to the European Union (EU) under the auspices of the “Agreement between the European Community and Canada on sanitary measures to protect public health and animal health in respect of trade in live animals and animal products.” The initial scope of the audit was extended to cover also the official controls in relation to veterinary medicinal products (VMP) and residues in live horses and horse meat.

The FVO audit team visited five slaughterhouses with integrated cutting plants (two of these visited by both sub-teams on different days for horses or bovines/bison) and one casing establishment. The FVO audit team also visited one border crossing (horses imported from the USA), three feed lots (horse, bovine and bison), one wholesaler and one retailer of VMPs as well as one CFIA area office.

No major problems were identified in relation to general and specific hygiene requirements in any of the slaughter establishments visited. However, the casing establishment which was not exporting to the EU at the time of the FVO audit did not fulfil the requirements for EU listing. The CFIA does not ensure that the lists of establishments approved for export to the EU are kept up to date and communicated to the Commission as required. After the FVO audit was announced several requests for de-listing of establishments were made by the CA.

The FVO audit also identified shortcomings in relation to official controls over the traceability of bovine animals and bison destined for export to the EU.

No shortcomings were identified in relation to the implementation of the CFIA Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Programme. The Growth Enhancement Products (GEP) free programme for bovines and bison is well documented but deficiencies in the design and the implementation of the programme question its robustness.

There are serious concerns in relation to the reliability of the controls over both imported and domestic horses destined for export to the EU. It cannot be guaranteed that horses have not been treated with illegal substances within the last 180 days before slaughter.

The residue monitoring in horse meat has been largely implemented as foreseen and in line with Codex Alimentarius requirements but the effectiveness of follow-up of non-compliant results has been variable. Whilst the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfil its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions. The CFIA is in this regard hampered by a lack of direct powers over primary producers and transient agents (dealers).

Here you can find the response from the Competent Authority to the report recommendations.

Food recalls in EU – Week 23/2015

dried_licorice_roots_premium_hand_selected

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Biocontaminants: atropine (198.5 µg/kg – ppb) and scopolamine (45 µg/kg – ppb) in organic polenta cornmeal from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in white wine in bottle from South Africa, following company’s own check. Notified by Finland, distributed also to Denmark and Sweden;

– Foreign bodies: plastic fragments (size 7-17 by 5-14 mm) in frozen fish cutlets from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Netherlands;

– Foreign bodies: wire 1.5 cm long in chocolate bar from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Switzerland;

– Mycotoxins: ochratoxin A (433.5 µg/kg – ppb) in liquorice root from Turkey, via the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (presence/25g) in raw milk cheeses from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Denmark, Netherlands and Spain;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: norovirus (GI /25g) in frozen raspberries from Serbia, via Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (H11, eae+, stx1+) in frozen burgers from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Monaco.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

None.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Biocontaminants: histamine (1100 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen tuna steak from Vietnam, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Estonia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments (very small glass particles) in wine from South Africa, following company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Italy;

– Heavy metals: mercury (0.5 mg/kg – ppm) in five-flavour berry (Schisandra chinensis) from Singapore, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Sweden, distributed also to Finland, Germany and Italy;

– Mycotoxins: deoxynivalenol (DON) (2198 µg/kg – ppb) in salted popcorn manufactured in the Czech Republic, with raw material from Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland, distributed also to Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (3100 CFU/g) in smoked mackerel processed in Romania, with raw material from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Hungary;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (400 CFU/g) in gorgonzola cheese from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Switzerland, distributed also to France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in ginger from the United Kingdom, with raw material from Nigeria, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands;

– Pesticide residues: ethephon (2.9 mg/kg – ppm) in pineapples from Mauritius, following company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Romania.

4. Seizures:

None.

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 16.4; Tot. = 17.4 µg/kg – ppb) in dried whole red chilli peppers from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 193; Tot. = 225 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from India, processed in Egypt
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 96.9; Tot. = 152 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell and in pistachio kernels (B1 = 20; Tot. = 22 / B1 = 71; Tot. = 80 µg/kg – ppb) from the United States
  • biphenyl (1.66 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • dithiocarbamates (0.15 mg/kg – ppm) in vine leaves from Turkey
  • FEED: arsenic (220 mg/kg – ppm) in manganese oxide from India
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 189 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels for bird feed from the Gambia
  • fraudulent health certificate(s) (dated after the arrival to the BIP) for refined hazelnut oil from Turkey
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei) from Vietnam
  • too high content of sulphite and undeclared sulphite (4958 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey, via Lebanon
  • undeclared milk ingredient, wheat and nuts in and insufficient labelling of sesame seed-based confectionery (barazeq) from Lebanon

E-Book – FDA Requirements in a nutshell

FDA-food-labeling-requirements-ebook

Very similarly to EU, many new food business owners get discouraged when they see how confusing it is to decipher FDA’s regulations on proper food product labeling. The website is so extensive and regulations so numerous, that it seems impossible to read through all of them. And that’s not all. When you start reading frequently asked questions by food producers, or when you visit forums on this topic in the Internet, you realize there are many ambiguities that can be resolved only by consulting an expert. Anyway, e-book and guidelines are useful resources to have at least a general idea of the task.

Recently I found the following e-book, which tries to simplify FDA’s regulations and summarize the basics of food labeling in a visually engaging, easy-to-understand way. It shows you that the common food packaging label is made up of five parts: statement of identity, the product’s net weight, your address, ingredients list and nutrition facts. Further you’ll learn what every nutrition facts label needs to have and where it needs to be placed in order to be always visible to the consumer. The text is full of links to relevant FDA website pages.

Food producers can be exempted from food labeling and this ebook provides links to particular pages that explain how a food business owner can apply for exemption (for example, if the business is small and doesn’t exceed a certain amount of profit per year).

This ebook can also be helpful to consumers, because they often don’t realize the importance of a food label, the trouble a food producer goes through to accurately inform buyers about their product, and the real meanings of some information.

You can download the ebook and become a bit more knowledgeable about the USA food labelling.

FVO Report – Latvia – Post slaughter traceability of meat and meat products

Carni

The audit to Latvia was carried out from 1 to 12 December 2014. The main objective of the audit was to evaluate the operation of official controls over the traceability of meat (meat of domestic ungulates, poultry, lagomorphs and game meat), minced meat, mechanically separated meat (MSM), meat preparations, meat products (hereafter referred to as meat and products thereof), and composite products containing meat and products thereof and other ingredients. Particular attention was paid to the traceability, labelling and identification systems of meat and products thereof, and to composite products containing meat and products thereof and traceability of quantities of each ingredient used.

The Competent Authorities (CAs) responsible for official controls in the scope of the audit have been designated in compliance with Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and within the scope of this audit, Union legislation is transposed, where applicable into national legislation.

Within the scope of the audit, the official control plans are implemented as foreseen and official controls are carried out in accordance with documented procedures. The CA controls did not include systematic controls on quantitative traceability (quantities of meat and products thereof and other ingredients, received, used, dispatched and in stock) or an in-depth verification of Food Business Operator’s (FBO’s) traceability procedures.

While the routine CA controls found some non-compliances regarding traceability, labelling and use of additives, the controls did not detect a number of more serious, systemic deficiencies. The CA control results for each of the 14 samples taken at retail level at the start of the Food and Veterinary Office’s (FVO) audit indicated non compliances related to traceability, labelling and/or use of additives. The CA control results indicated that Regulation (EU) No 931/2011 was not implemented correctly in many cases.

In one establishment, the product labels for wild game meat contained misleading information for the final consumer and traceability was not guaranteed. The CA initiated immediate corrective actions, including product suspension.

Rome 19th June 2015 – Practical seminar: how to defend your business from official controls and food frauds

Colosseo, Roma

On 19th June 2015 I will be in Rome for a full day practical seminar on how to defend your business from official controls, non compliance events and food frauds. The course is hosted and organized by Eurofishmarketleading firm specialized in marketing, training and legal services on seafood sector, and SIMeVeP (Italian

Aim of the course is to offer to the food business operators the instruments to comprehend which are their rights and their obligations during the official controls and the administrative and/or criminal proceedings which follow the non-compliance.

We will analyze the main issues linked to the sampling and testing phase and how to manage an inspection from the competent authority, which kind of measures the competent authorities can apply (i.e. seizures), how to handle a food recall and how to prevent unintentional frauds (i.e. Horsemeat scandal), with practical examples.

The EU Commission is working on a revision of the Reg. (CE) n. 882/2004 on official controls on foodstuffs, and within this context is also evaluating if establishing a common definition of “food frauds” and how to build a credible enforcement system to prevent such incidents.

It is of pivotal importance to be updated on those aspects, since the publication of the new Regulation (in origin fixed for the end of 2015) probably will be in the first half of 2016.

You can see the full program and subscribe here.

Language of the course: Italian. For readers from foreign countries I remember that I can organize also sessions via webinar/distance learning.

New Food-Tech Platform Optimizes Protein Cultivation

New Food-Tech Platform Optimizes Protein Cultivation

Tel Aviv, Israel – In the future, we will be able to grow veggie protein in an eco-friendly system, 24/7, summer or winter, outdoors or indoors.

The future is now. Hinoman, Ltd., has created a cultivation system to address one of the major challenges in food healthy food product development’s for the coming decades. The new, groundbreaking technology grows a high-protein, leafy green vegetable quickly and safely to ensure a consistent supply 365 days/year.

Hinoman’s proprietary, eco-friendly cultivation system utilizes closed-environment, yet economically competitive, advanced hydroponics technology to completely control and optimize the plants’ growth. It ensures the plants are pure, clean, uncontaminated and free from pesticides and other non-desired residues. The resulting vegetable exceeds food safety and food security requirements under the very strictest standards.

According to Lux Research Inc. and Frost & Sullivan Inc., global protein consumption will reach 943 million metric tons (MMT) by 2054, rising at a 8.6% CAGR from the current 473 MMT. Whole protein sources (such as algae, insects and Hinoman’s new vegetable solution) must pick up the slack of slowing and unsustainable meat and seafood growth. These sources could claim as much as 33% of total protein supply by 2054.

“We hope our high-tech technology can contribute not just to reducing global malnutrition challenges, but also toward how people will eat healthy, sustainable food in the future,” says Ron Salpeter, CEO for Hinoman. “It is exciting to lead the Hinoman team and help pave the way toward production of continuous, year-round and inexpensive whole vegetarian protein.”

“Hinoman’s revolutionary eco-green technology is effective on small, large or even industrial scales,” explains Udi Alroy, VP of Business Development for Hinoman. “This new food-tech platform can be easily scaled up to meet both immediate and long-term demands. Decision makers in food companies must choose safe, careful and reliable suppliers, especially when it comes to clean, environmentally friendly protein sources. Hinoman offers a complete, innovative package for a highly nutritious, trusted and safe supply of this critical nutrient, at an affordable and stable cost.”

Food recalls in EU – Week 22/2015

fette_cereali1

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: undeclared gluten (30-98 mg/kg – ppm) in gluten-free rice and buckwheat crispbreads from the Czech Republic, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Guadeloupe, Lebanon, Martinique and Slovenia;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella infantis (presence/25g) in ground turmeric root from unknown origin, following n official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens/Additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphite (170; 160 mg/kg – ppm) in pickled lotus rootlet in brine from Thailand, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark;

– Non pathogenic micro-organisms: chilled mixed butters from the Netherlands infested with mouldsfollowing . Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient (135 mg/kg – ppm) in dried egg powder from Bulgaria, via Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 13.8; Tot. = 16.3 / B1 = 15.3; Tot. = 16.7 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from India, following an official control on the market. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Bulgaria;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (present/25g) in raw milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Spain, Germany and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (present/25g) in chicken meat from Belgium, from chickens reared France, following company’s own check. Notified from Belgium, distributed also to Gabon and Netherlands;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (presence/25g) in chicken meat preparations from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to France, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

4. Seizures:

– None.

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 2.3; Tot. = 7.1 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts in shell from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 43.36; Tot. = 47.24 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell from Iran
  • chlorpyrifos (0.6 mg/kg – ppm) and fenitrothion (0.05 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • coriander seeds from Israel unfit for human consumption (intended for sowing)
  • dicofol (0.076 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from the Dominican Republic
  • formetanate (0.105 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • poor temperature control (-8.2 and -12 °C) of frozen crabs (Chaceon spp) from South Korea and of frozen squid (Illex spp.) (between -11 and -9.4 °C) from Argentina
  • rodent excrements (8, 20, 20, 20, 10 /kg) in sesame seeds from Sudan
  • Salmonella Ekotedo and Salmonella Hongkong (presence /25g) in natural sesame seeds from Nigeria
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in paan leaves from India
  • unauthorised colour Sudan 4 (30000 µg/kg – ppb) in palm oil from Nigeria
  • unauthorised use of colour E 124 – Ponceau 4R/cochineal red A in syrup for the preparation of aromatised beverages from Pakistan

Written QeA to EU Commission – EU observatory on traceability on preserved tuna imports?

SONY DSC

Question for written answer to the Commission

José Blanco López (S&D) – 9 February 2015

Subject:  Need for a Community observatory on traceability to monitor preserved tuna imports to the EU

According to various studies carried out by Interatún and other laboratories with links to the Spanish tuna canning sector, which is responsible for 67% of EU production and 20.140 direct jobs, 85% of the imported preserved tuna that is marketed in the EU does not comply with the obligatory rules for retail sales.

It should be pointed out that, of the 733.000 tonnes of preserved tuna consumed in Europe last year, over half, specifically 383.000 tonnes, came from third countries. According to the sector’s estimations, Spain, which produces 235.000 tonnes, could produce 146.600 tonnes more and create another 8.435 direct jobs if imports that fail to comply with the hygiene-sanitary standards required from Member States were banned from the EU market.

The tuna canning sector therefore proposes that a Community observatory on traceability should be set up, which it estimates could reduce our dependence on preserved tuna imports by 20% in the EU.

Are there any plans in this regard?

What measures of control are currently applied and with what results?

Are any new measures of control planned?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 5 May 2015

Under European Union legislation on fisheries control and on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU)(1), marine fisheries and aquaculture products imported into the Union for human consumption must comply with Union’s traceability standards. In so doing, it is also possible to ensure the legality of the catches. These products must be accompanied by a catch certificate validated by the vessel flag State certifying that such catches have been made in accordance with applicable conservation and management measures. The level of verification carried out by the Member States has improved significantly and has seen more than 200 refusals of importation, since 2010.

Insofar as the health area is concerned, all products of animal origin imported into the Union are subject to compulsory veterinary checks in border inspection posts (BIPs) to ensure that they comply with the relevant import conditions. Imports must meet sanitary requirements which are at least equivalent to those provided for in Union legislation(2). Inspectors carry out documentary, identity and physical checks, including the verification of the labelling and the traceability of the products to verify this. In 2014, 15.441 consignments of preserved tuna in cans were checked in Union BIPs, of which 54 were rejected. This indicates that more than 99% of all imported consignments were compliant with Union health legislation.

Given these satisfactory results, both in the fields of IUU or health legislation, it is not planned to organise a Union observatory on traceability for imported preserved tuna.

Import controls will be maintained at the same level of vigilance and any increase in the occurrence of rejections will result in appropriate measures laid down in Union legislation.

 

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20.11.2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, OJ L 343/1, 22.12.2009 — Cf. in particular Article 58 and Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29.9.2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, OJ L 286/1, 29.10.2008.
(2) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28.1.2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, OJ L 31, 1.2.2002 — Cf. in particular Article 11.

(Source: EU Parliament)

Food recalls in EU – Week 21/2015

14-AllergensThis week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: undeclared soya (presence) and wheat (presence) in and incorrect labelling on roasted and salted almonds from Greece, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Faeroe Islands;

– Allergens: undeclared gluten in frozen grilled vegetables in marinade from Belgium, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Finland, distributed also to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Defective packaging: risk of breakage of bottles containing wine from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Bermuda;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Defective packaging: risk of breakage of bottles containing panaché from France, following company’s own check. Notified from Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (110 CFU/g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Spain and Sweden;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (1300 CFU/g) in cow’s milk cheese from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: traces of egg in soup from Poland, following company’s own check. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Non-pathogenic micro-organisms: hazelnut kernels from Sweden infested with moulds, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Saint Paul in chilled turkey breast fillet from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared soya (5.8 mg/kg – ppm) in liver pate from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Industrial contaminants: migration of melamine (3.1 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine dinner plate from unknown origin, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium;

– Industrial contaminants: 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) (11 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from the United States, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Campylobacter (presence/25g) in chicken liver parfait from Ireland, following a food poisoning. Notified by United Kingdom;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/g) in pasteurized cheese from Italy, following company’s own check. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Munchen (presence/25g) in smoked paprika powder from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to France, Ireland and United Arab Emirates;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (presence/25g) in frozen chicken livers and skins from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany and Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O26 – VTEC eaeA and VTEC vtx1./25g) in smoked sausage from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Latvia, distributed also to Estonia.

4. Seizures:

– In Switzerland, following a border control, we had a seizure of basil from Laos for pesticide residues: carbosulfan (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (1.4 mg/kg – ppm) and a seizure of kale from Vietnam for composition and pesticide residues: too high content of nitrate (4700 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances carbendazim (1.12 mg/kg – ppm), chlorfenapyr (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) and chlorfluazuron (0.06 mg/kg – ppm).

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) and of certified analytical report for peanut candies from India;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.3; Tot. = 11.4 / B1 = 9.9; Tot. = 11 µg/kg – ppb) in whole and ground egusi seeds from Ghana
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 17.1; Tot. = 21.5 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts with shell from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 30; Tot. = 35 / B1 = 55; Tot. = 64 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from India
  • aflatoxins (B1: 20, Sum 20 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from the United States
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 17.5 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnut kernels from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 33.8 µg/kg – ppb) in raw pistachios from the United States
  • attempt to illegally import dried beans and dried meat and fish products from Nigeria
  • biphenyl (3.44 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) and diazinon (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in black olives in brine from Egypt and (0.2 mg/100ml and 0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in whole natural black olives from Eritrea, via Egypt
  • clofentezine (0.17 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) from Turkey
  • formetanate (0.32 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from Turkey
  • improper health certificate(s) for peanuts from Ghana
  • malathion (0.047 mg/kg – ppm) in myrica rubra from China
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of manganese (2.1 mg/kg – ppm) from stainless steel ladle from India
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): acrylic plates from India unfit for use as food contact material
  • poor temperature control (>-7 °C) of fresh frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei ) from Venezuela and of chilled tuna (Thunnus albacares) from India
  • prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) (3.5 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen raw shrimps from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen turkey meat preparations and in frozen spiced turkey breasts from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (present /25g) in frozen salted chicken breasts from Thailand

COOLing on mandatory origin labelling – Part 2 – Report published also on milk and other kinds of meat

pouring milk in a glass isolated

In this report is considered milk and milk as ingredients in dairy products. The types of meat concerned are fresh and frozen meat from horses, rabbits, reindeer and deer, from farmed and wild game, as well from birds other than chicken, turkey, ducks, geese and guinea fowls.

Also in this case, the most recommended option is voluntary labelling.

Here’s the conclusions of the report:

“Currently for the foods under the remit of this report consumers may, if they so wish, opt for milk or meat products where origin information is voluntarily provided for by food business operators. This can be a suitable option without imposing additional burden on the industry and the authorities. Mandatory origin labelling would entail higher regulatory burden for most of the products assessed in the report and therefore, the question at stake is to assess whether the balance between costs and benefits is such that it would justify its mandatory indication.

Additional findings that emerge from this report are that:

– In spite of a consumers’ interest for the origin of milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and for meats under the remit of this report, consumers’ overall willingness to pay for this information appears to be modest.

– When mandatory origin labelling scenarios are considered, consumers seem to express preference for this indication to be made at Member State’s level.

– Although the cost of labelling the origin of milk could be generally modest, its impact among operators will be uneven with some of them having to introduce additional traceability systems with substantial increases of costs, particularly those located in border regions or in areas non-self-sufficient in milk.

– The study shows that the mandatory origin labelling of milk used as an ingredient in dairy products can result in adverse economic impacts, further 14 traceability requirements and would be burdensome for highly processed products.

– There will be additional operational costs to impose mandatory origin labelling for the meats under the remit of this report.”

As often in these cases we face the so called “consumer’s paradox”: they want more and more information, but they are not ready to pay more for having them…

(Source: DG Agri website)

Canada – Potatoes recalled for suspected tampering (nails and needles)

potatoes
Date of recall: May 22, 2015
Reason for recall: Tampering
Hazard classification: Class 3
Company / Firm: Loblaw Companies Limited, Strang’s Produce Inc.
Distribution: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
Extent of the distribution: Retail

Recall details

Ottawa, May 22, 2015 – Loblaw Companies Limited and Strang’s Produce Inc. are voluntarily recalling certain Farmer’s Market and Strang’s Produce brands of Russet Potatoes from the marketplace due to possible food tampering with nails and needles. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Strang’s Chef Potatoes Jumbo for Chips 50 lb (22.7 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
033383454900
Farmer’s Market Potatoes Russet 15 lb (6.8 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
061483014779
Farmer’s Market Potatoes Russet 10 lb (4.54 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
061483014786
Farmer’s Market Potatoes Russet 5 lb (2.27 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
061483005920
Strang’s Produce Potatoes 15 lb (6.8 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
3338345486
Strang’s Produce Potatoes 10 lb (4.54 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
3338345485
Strang’s Produce Potatoes 5 lb (2.27 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
3338345481

What you should do

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. However, if you find a foreign metal object in a potato, please do not throw out the potato, metal object or the bag and any tags related to the product. Please contact your local police so the potatoes and related items can be passed along to the investigators.

Background

This recall was triggered by an ongoing investigation into consumer complaints of nails and needles which appear to have been inserted into potatoes. As tampering is a criminal offense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are leading the investigation into this matter.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled products from the marketplace.

Illnesses

There have been no reported injuries associated with the consumption of these products.

(Source: CFIA website)

COOLing on mandatory origin labelling – EU Commission report published

Shopping

On 20th May 2015 the EU Commission, pursuant art. 26 (5) and (6) of the Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 published the “Study on the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance of unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food”.

More report are expected to be published about:

(a) types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry;

(b) milk;

(c) milk used as an ingredient in dairy products.

The conclusions of the study are the following:

  • In terms of factors affecting consumer purchasing decisions, consumer interest in origin labelling, ranks behind price, taste, use by/best before date, convenience and/or appearance aspects. Even if consumer interest in origin labelling for unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients representing more than 50% of a food is claimed by two thirds to three quarters of consumers, it is lower than for food categories such as meat, meat products or dairy products.
  • Consumers link origin information to various product aspects, such as quality, safety, environmental concerns and also declare that they would buy national products to support the economy of their country, with important differences amongst Member States. They would prefer information on origin at the level of the country compared with a EU/non-EU level and seem more interested in the place of production compared with the place of farming of the raw material.
  • Unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food are food categories that gather very different products, for which consumer interest in origin information and economic impact of imposing a mandatory origin labelling varies greatly.
  • The supply chains for the three categories of foods in the scope of the report show that the origin of ingredients varies frequently to maintain low purchasing prices and to maintain the quality of the final product. Therefore, mandatory origin labelling at the EU level and even more at the level of the country is highly complex to implement in many areas of food, leading to substantial increases of costs of production, which ultimately would be passed on to consumers.
  • Origin labelling on a voluntary basis would be the least market disruptive scenario and would maintain product cost at current levels. It would not provide a satisfactory solution to the consumer demand for systematic origin information, but consumers could, if they so wish, opt for foods where origin information is voluntarily provided for by food business operators.
  • Mandatory origin labelling at EU level (EU/non-EU or EU/third country) leads to less important production cost increases, less burden for both food business operators and Member States competent authorities, but consumer satisfaction would be not as high as with mandatory origin labelling at country level. Unlike origin labelling at EU level, origin labelling at country level would have an 13 important impact on the internal market, with a possible increase of consumption of local foods for certain markets.
  • Both mandatory origin labelling scenarios at EU and country levels could impact on international food supplies and interfere with existing trade agreements with third countries. Additional labelling rules may lower the competitiveness of EU food business operators on the international market, while food business operators from third countries are concerned about potential additional costs of production and loss of exports to the EU because consumers would prefer foods of EU origin.
  • Finally, mandatory origin labelling would represent an additional burden on Member States competent authorities, in particular in the current economic environment, if they had to cope with the imposition of possible new control tasks for such additional requirements.
  • Against this background and in view of the Commission policies in terms of better regulation, voluntary origin labelling combined with the already existing mandatory origin labelling regimes for specific foods or categories of food appears as the suitable option. It maintains selling prices at current levels and still allows consumers to choose products with specific origins if they want to, while it does not affect the competitiveness of food business operators and does not impact internal market and international trade.

The report will be presented soon to the EU Parliament, but the chance to see a legislative proposal on mandatory COOL labelling for these categories of products seems, at the moment, at least less likely.

Milan 18th June 2015 – Practical seminar: how to defend your business from official controls and food frauds

Colosseo, Roma

On 18th June 2015 I will be in Milan for a full day practical seminar on how to defend your business from official controls, non compliance events and food frauds. The course is hosted and organized by Certiquality, certification body, accredited to provide enterprises with certification services covering Quality, Environmental and Safety Management Systems, as well as Product Certification. Certiquality also operates on Food Safety, on auditing Data Security in the EDP systems, and on Professional Training.

Aim of the course is to offer to the food business operators the instruments to comprehend which are their rights and their obligations during the official controls and the administrative and/or criminal proceedings which follow the non-compliance.

We will analyze the main issues linked to the sampling and testing phase and how to manage an inspection from the competent authority, which kind of measures the competent authorities can apply (i.e. seizures), how to handle a food recall and how to prevent unintentional frauds (i.e. Horsemeat scandal), with practical examples.

The EU Commission is working on a revision of the Reg. (CE) n. 882/2004 on official controls on foodstuffs, and within this context is also evaluating if establishing a common definition of “food frauds” and how to build a credible enforcement system to prevent such incidents.

It is of pivotal importance to be updated on those aspects, since the publication of the new Regulation (in origin fixed for the end of 2015) probably will be in the first half of 2016.

You can see the full program here and subscribe at the following page.

Language of the course: Italian. For readers from foreign countries I remember that I can organize also sessions via webinar/distance learning.

Food recalls in EU – Week 20/2015

Topo

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

Allergens: undeclared gluten (111.5; 746 mg/kg – ppm) in gluten free crisps from Ireland, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Foreign bodies: metal pieces in potato salad from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland;

– Foreign bodies: dead mouse in unsalted organic crunchy peanut butter from the Netherlands, following a consumer complaint. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland, Norway and Spain;

– Foreign bodies: plastic fragments (1 <–> 2 cm) in frozen gluten and wheat free chicken goujons from the Netherlands, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: norovirus (presence/25g) in frozen blueberries from Chile, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and Luxembourg;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in raw milk camembert from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Germany, Poland and Sweden.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Foreign bodies: metal pieces in carrot & swede mash from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Gibraltar;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials): colour migration from plastic bowls from China, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Bulgaria, Cyprus, Kosovo, Romania and Macedonia.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared egg in cod burger from the Netherlands, following a food poisoning. Notified by Sweden;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of cadmium (0.52 mg/item) and of lead (4.0 mg/item) from glass mugs from China, following an official control on the market. Notified from Poland, distributed also to Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia;

Food poisoning suspected to be caused by organic quinoa flake from Bolivia, packaged in Denmark. Notified from Norway;

– Mycotoxins: ochratoxin A (6.4 – 40 µg/kg – ppb) in buckwheat flour from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium.

4. Seizures:

In Denmark we had a seizure of chopped hazelnuts from Turkey for aflatoxins (B1 = 9; Tot. = 26 µg/kg – ppb).

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) for curry leaves from India and for seaweed instant rice noodles from Thailand, dispatched from Hong Kong
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 14.3; Tot. = 18.2 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels and in nutmegs (B1 = 36.7; Tot. = 38.1 µg/kg – ppb) from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 18.7 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 24.0; Tot. = 26.3 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio nuts from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 9; Tot. = 26 µg/kg – ppb) in chopped hazelnuts from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.36 mg/kg – ppm) and fenitrothion (0.05 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • chlorpyrifos-methyl (0.606 mg/kg – ppm) and lambda-cyhalothrin (0.273 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • diazinon (0.023 mg/kg – ppm) and fenitrothion (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • dried headless trevally (Carangidae) from Vietnam infested with moulds
  • poor temperature control (between -7.9 and -12.8 °C) of frozen common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) from Mauritania
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen boneless skinless spiced half turkey breasts from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella Stanley (2 out 3 samples /25g) in dried black fungus from Vietnam
  • unauthorised irradiation of extract of red rice from China
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient Phellinus linteus in food supplement from the United States
  • unauthorised substance carbaryl (1.73 mg/kg – ppm) in beans from Madagascar
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.024 mg/kg – ppm) in dried lentils from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in basmati rice from India

Written QeA to EU Commission – Sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children

Girl Enjoying Chocolate Milk --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Question for written answer to the Commission
Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D) – 13 March 2015

Subject: Sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children

The Commission is currently undertaking consultation with a view to preparing a report on milk-based drinks for young children. This report will be partly informed by the 2013 report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the same subject(1), which looked at nutrient requirements and recommendations, including energy intake.

The EFSA report warned that ‘observed average energy intakes in infants and young children living in Europe are generally above the AR (average requirement)’ and that ‘energy intakes above requirements will lead to an unfavourable gain in body mass’. However, it did not draw any specific conclusions on sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children or on their contribution to rising levels of childhood obesity and to changes in the development of children’s palates.

Given the childhood obesity crisis and the importance of developing healthy lifestyle behaviours in children, will the Commission ask the EFSA to report specifically on sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children?

Will it consider the effect of sugar levels in milk-based drinks and their possible contribution to excess energy intake, which, as the EFSA warns, is already leading to ‘an unfavourable gain in body mass’ among children?

Will it also ask the EFSA to report on sugar levels in baby foods, such as processed cereal‐based foods?

(1) EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), ‘Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union’, EFSA Journal, 2013, 11(10):3408.

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 5 May 2015

As noted by the Honourable Member, the Commission is currently preparing a report on the necessity, if any, of specific rules for milk-based drinks and similar products intended for young children (also known as young-child formulae), pursuant to Article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 609/2013(1).

In preparation for this report, the Commission consulted the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provided its views on young-child formulae, including on their composition and role in the diet of young children(2). The report will take into account EFSA’s views as well as other elements (including the outcome of consultations with Member States, NGOs and relevant stakeholders). No additional consultation with EFSA is considered necessary, at this stage, on young-child formulae.

With respect to processed cereal-based food and baby food for infants and young children, the Commission intends to request EFSA’s advice in the future for the purpose of reviewing the compositional requirements laid down in the legislation for these products.

The Commission supports Member States’ action to promote healthy lifestyles and provide education on diet and physical activity among children so as to help prevent obesity and related health problems. This support takes place through the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity(3) and the EU platform for action on diet, physical activity and health(4) and through projects co-financed under the Health Programme(5).

(1) OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 35.
(2) EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2013. Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union. EFSA Journal 2013;11(10):3408; EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2014. Scientific Opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae. EFSA Journal 2014;12(7):3760.
(3) http://ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/high_level_group/index_en.htm
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/platform/index_en.htm
(5) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014R0282&from=EN

(Source: EU Parliament)

Written QeA to EU Commission – Indication of the production site on labels

Foodproduction728

In the following answer to the written question of the Italian MEP Nicola Caputo, Commissioner Andriukaitis seems to close definitely the doors to the option of a EU level introduction of the mandatory indication of the production site or packaging center on the food labels. This kind of indication was mandatory in Italy under the former EU regime (Directive 2000/13/EC) and the subsequent national implementing act (Legislative Decree 109/1992) in addition to the business name and the address of the FBO responsible.

If Italy wants to reintroduce this indication, should notify the Commission the legislative proposal, also if the road seems paved of difficulties. In light of the Union’s concept of “origin” (expressed in the Custom Code), it is not easy to sustain the request, as well as on the ground of safety and traceability. The traceability is guaranteed by other means and also under the old national regime the factories with a health mark (Reg. UE 853/2004 and 854/2004) were exempted by this mandatory indication, as well as the prepacked foods coming from other EU countries and sold in Italy as such. It was therefore clear the intent to pursue public health with other means and to not hinder the trade of goods on the common market.

The Italian competent Ministries intention is to notify a measure to the EU Commission, with the aim to reintroduce the additional mandatory indication, but the legal and political conundrum seems challenging.

Question for written answer to the Commission – Nicola Caputo (S&D) – 11 March 2015

Subject:  Indication of the production site on labels

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, in force since December 2014, does not establish, in a European context, an obligation to show the production site on food labels.

This fact is another ‘lost opportunity’ in the defence of ‘made in’ labels on food, with obvious negative impacts on the role of European — and, in particular, Italian — food transformation and production outside national borders, raising serious questions about traceability from the moment of production.

Not even a re-introduction of this obligation only within national borders can be conclusive, further fragmenting the internal market.

On the other hand, products of animal origin (meat and meat products) have always shown the production site on the label, in compliance with EU rules on food hygiene.

Therefore, it is desirable to apply this requirement to all Member States, in order to provide full information to the consumer and promote Italian production.

That said, can the Commission say how it intends to include a measure and harmonise rules so as to defend the ‘made in’ labels on food products?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 6 May 2015

Directive 2000/13/EC(1), which was repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011(2) as of 13 December 2014, allowed Member States to retain national provisions which require indication of the factory or packaging centre, in respect of home production, on the labelling of foods.(3)

During the negotiations that led to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, one Member State proposed the introduction of a similar requirement at Union level. Although supported by the Commission, this suggestion was not endorsed by the other Member States. Eventually, the co-legislators decided to make compulsory on the package or on a label attached thereto only the name or business name and address of the food business operator under whose name or business name the food is marketed or, if that operator is not established in the Union, the importer into the Union market.(4)

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 further clarified that the name, business name or address of the food business operator on the label does not constitute an indication of origin within the meaning of the regulation.(5) Furthermore, it set out specific requirements concerning the origin of foods. However, it does not empower the Commission to proceed to a harmonised measure as requested by the Honourable Member.

(1) Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20.3.2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs (OJ L 109, 6.5.2000, p. 29).
(2) Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25.10.2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18).
(3) Article 3(2) of Directive 2000/13/EC.
(4) Article 9(1)(h) read in conjunction with Article 8(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.
(5) Article 2(2)(g) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.

(Source: EU Parliament)

New Incaberrix Superberry ingredients targets beverage market

ripe physalis isolated on white background

Frutarom BU Health, Switzerland, launches its new superberry ingredient, IncaberrixTM. The water-soluble extract, rich in phytonutrients, is prepared from the ancient Andean physalis fruit (Physalis peruviana), also known as Inca berry, cape gooseberry or golden berry.

Inca berry is considered one of the “lost” crops of the Incans. It is native to the Andes, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. Many traditional Andean foods have an historic association with improved health and longevity. Maca and quinoa are examples of Andean staple crops rich in phytonutrients that became recognized as “super foods” in recent years.

“Now is the time for Inca golden berries,” states Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom Health. “The concentrated nutrient value adds health benefits, combined with fun and an exotic touch, to a wide range of food applications. But the sweet and tart berry’s primary category is beverages, including soft drinks, nutritional beverages and more. We strive to lead in market innovation by developing such natural ingredients that can both lead food and beverage trends and support health.”

Incaberrix is particularly rich in B-complex vitamins, protein and minerals such as iron, zinc and phosphorus. It also is high in vitamin C and carotenoids. Recent tests in Frutarom Innovation Center show that clear, water-soluble Incaberrix is stable in beverage applications.

“Superberry ingredients such as Incaberrix are attractive ingredients for product developers and manufacturers seeking to add value to their food and beverage products,” notes Capelle. ”The introduction of this new superberry extract by Frutarom is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to comprehensively serve the functional product market through our group synergies and goals. Incaberrix is another example of how Frutarom combines its strength in developing exotic flavors with healthy ingredients to offer its clients innovative, great-tasting product concepts,” concludes Capelle.

Rome 27th May 2015 – Course on food labelling and non compliance management

Colosseo, Roma

On 27th May I will be in Rome, invited by the analytical lab Chriva, for a full day practical course on the new Regulation (EU) n. 1169/2011 on food information to consumers and the latest updates about the implementation at national level of some specific rules on allergens and non prepacked foods. The session will be rich of examples and interaction with participants.

The second part of the course will be focused on the main source of non compliance, not only related to foodstuffs, but also to contaminants, microbiological contamination, foreign bodies etc. and some hints about to manage critical situation and food recalls notice.

You can download the brochure and find more info here. Language of the course: Italian. For the readers from foreign countries I remember that I can organize also sessions via webinar/distance learning.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 737 other followers

%d bloggers like this: