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Food frauds protection and prevention – Inscatech in the news and my next activities

food-fraud

What are we talking about?

Food fraud is the next legislative enigma for food regulators in EU, as well as in other major food systems, like the US one. I am following from the very inside the legislative work on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (and I will be more than happy to discuss with any of you about this topic) but, despite the differences in the approach, the problems remain the same.

Due to the changing nature and variety of the phenomena, the first and biggest problem is to find a comprehensive definition. The second is to introduce effective and dissuasive sanctions, together with an enforcement system with adequate means and skills to contrast them.

In this context some certification schemes, like the BRC version 7, are introducing specific requirements for food fraud prevention. But how to manage a specific audit for food fraud prevention, how to ask the right question, as well as how to implement a vulnerability assessment plan it is hard to define in a single “standard”.

An effective food fraud prevention system cannot exist without a solid base of intelligence, without a continuous activity of horizon scanning for emerging risks and without a strong control on your supply chain.

Inscatech is the first and only company currently providing intelligence gathering boots on the ground all over the world, food fraud vulnerability assessments and control plans. Inscatech has established a solid reputation in the food industry and in the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) Food Fraud Think Tank as both a pioneer and the sole provider of food fraud intelligence investigations, forensically based vulnerability assessments, supplier qualification examinations, validated supply chain mapping, and food fraud vulnerability control programs. Through its work with many of the largest food producers and retail grocery conglomerates globally, Inscatech is leading the food industry towards a harmonized and systematic approach to protecting the safety and authenticity of the global food supply.

INSCATECH in the news and my next activities

You can read more about Inscatech:

On 27th March 2015 I will be in Milan for a free presentation about the BRC 7 requirements for food frauds prevention.

On 2nd June 2015 I will be guest speaker at the Food&Beverage Law&IP conference, organised in London by IPRConnections in the exclusive location of the London Stock Exchange. Foodlawlatest.com is a media partner of the event. There will be speakers and representative from the most well recognised companies in the world, such as Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, Scotch Whisky Association, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Pernod Ricard, Red Bull Asia and many others.

Together with one of the most experienced person in EU regarding the fight against food fraud, John Coady, Chief Audit Manager in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and member of the FSAI’s multi-agency Food Fraud Task Force, I will speak in a panel full of case study about recent food frauds events and tips about what is going on at EU level. As Vice President EU Business and Regulatory affairs at Inscatech, I will give you some hints about how to protect your business from food frauds and about the pivotal role of the intelligence in preventing those events.

Food recalls in EU – Week 12/2015

mussels

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:

– Additives and flavorings/Allergens: undeclared sulphite (1260 mg/kg – ppm) in candy preserved tamarind from Thailand, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland;

– Biotoxins: Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins (200 µg/kg – ppb) in mussels (Mytilus edulis) from Ireland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to France.

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

None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Additives and flavorings/Allergens: undeclared sulphite (34 mg/kg – ppm) in blueberry jam from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– Biocontaminants: atropine (0.304 mg/kg – ppm) and scopolamine (0.358 mg/kg – ppm) in millet dumplings from Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria;

– Biocontaminants: atropine (0.481 mg/kg – ppm) and scopolamine (0.533 mg/kg – ppm) in millet dumplings from Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria;

– Heavy metals: mercury (2.5 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 12; Tot. = 18 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted chopped hazelnuts from Turkey, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Estonia, Iceland and Switzerland;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (Tot. = 9.4 µg/kg – ppb) in dried white beans from Turkey, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in turmeric powder (Curcuma longa) from India, following an official control on the market. Notified from Netherlands, distributed also to Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (presence /25g) in raw milk camembert from Belgium, with raw material from France, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Netherlands.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) for melon seeds from Nigeria
  • acetamiprid (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) and imidacloprid (0.16 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from Morocco
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 74 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Brazil
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 135.39; Tot. = 187.54 / B1 = 125.13; Tot. = 188.18 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran, via Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 95.7; Tot. = 113 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19.4; Tot. = 21.7 / B1 = 16.2; Tot. = 22.1 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio nuts from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.5 µg/kg – ppb) in blanched peanut kernels from China
  • ethion (0.047 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbaryl (0.056 mg/kg – ppm) in chili peppers from Thailand
  • fipronil (0.011 mg/kg – ppm) in yardlong beans from the Dominican Republic
  • formetanate (1.074 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • groundnuts in shell from Egypt infested with insects
  • imidacloprid (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from Morocco
  • iprodione (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.22 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruit from Vietnam
  • irradiation in an unauthorised facility of ground nutmeg kosher from India, via Israel
  • poor temperature control (-8.0; -7.8; -8.8 °C) of frozen octopus (Octopus spp) from India
  • prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) (1.54 µg/kg – ppb) in casings from Turkey
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen chicken meat preparations (Gallus domesticus) from Brazil and in frozen salted chicken breast fillets and boneless skinless legs from Brazil
  • unauthorised substance 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) in food supplement from China
  • unauthorised substance anthraquinone (0.18 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.490 mg/kg – ppm) in oranges from Turkey
  • unsuitable organoleptic characteristics and poor hygienic state of chilled white grouper (Epinephelus aeneus) from Senegal

Food recalls in EU – Week 11/2015

Peanuts

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:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (<1.0103 CFU/g) in soft cheese from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Campylobacter in spring onions from Egypt, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark.

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

None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: traces of peanut (1.71 mg/kg – ppm) in pili pili powder from China, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Czech Republic, France, Netherlands, Slovakia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom;

– Heavy metals: mercury (2.34 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled vacuum packed swordfish from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– Mycotoxins: ochratoxin A (29 µg/kg – ppb) in pumpkin seeds from China, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands;

– Mycotoxins: ochratoxin A (183 µg/kg – ppb in dried figs from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen minced meat from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by France;

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

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (< 10 CFU/g) in cheese made with raw cow’s milk from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Spain.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • acetamiprid (0.026 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10; Tot. = 12 µg/kg – ppb) in pecan nuts from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 11; Tot. = 60 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels and peanuts in shell (B1 = 3.4; Tot. = 8.4 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 29; Tot. = 33 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio kernels, with raw material from Afghanistan, and in dried figs (B1 = 6.5; Tot. = 7 / B1 = 10.8; Tot. = 13 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 6.8; Tot. = 8.1 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts and red chili (B1=18.1 µg/kg – ppb) from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 67 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran, dispatched from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 129 µg/kg – ppb) in almonds from Afghanistan, dispatched from Turkey
  • ochratoxin A (24.3 µg/kg – ppb) in raisins from Uzbekistan
  • azoxystrobin (0.08 mg/kg – ppm) and fipronil (0.02 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.02 mg/kg – ppm) in red peppers from the Dominican Republic
  • chlorpyrifos (1.067 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from Turkey
  • dead insects and excrements of insects (20.6; 21.1 %) in dried dates from Turkey
  • ethephon (3.9 mg/kg – ppm) in grapes from Peru
  • formetanate (0.172 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers, sweet peppers (1939 mg/kg – ppm) and cucumbers (2.204 mg/kg – ppm) from Turkey
  • metalaxyl (0.169 mg/kg – ppm) and fenamiphos (0.328 mg/kg – ppm) in courgettes from Turkey
  • FCM: migration of chromium (0.4 mg/kg – ppm) from blades for meat grinder from China
  • FCM: migration of formaldehyde (up to 259 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine set (glasses, plates cutlery) from China
  • FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (1.1 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine kitchen utensils from China
  • FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (aniline: 0.029; 4,4′-diaminodiphenylmethane: 0.0681 mg/kg – ppm) from nylon tableware from China
  • FCM: too high level of overall migration (518 mg/kg – ppm) from chrome winebottle set from China
  • norovirus (group I detected /25g) in frozen white clams from Vietnam
  • oxydemeton-methyl (0.14 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh beans from Kenya
  • Salmonella (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds and Salmonella Mbandaka (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in rice from India
  • undeclared colour E 133 – Brilliant Blue FCF (15 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised use of colour E 102 – tartrazine (76 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen seaweed salad from China
  • unsuitable organoleptic characteristics of chilled lamb leg from New Zealand

Aspartame study findings published by the Hull York Medical School

sweetener
The Food Standards Agency is today publishing the findings of a study carried out by Hull York Medical School, determining reactions to aspartame in people who have reported symptoms in the past compared to people with no reported symptoms. The study is also being published in the peer reviewed, open access journal, PLOS ONE.

The study concluded that the participants who were self-diagnosed as sensitive to aspartame showed no difference in their response after consuming a cereal bar, whether it contained aspartame or not. The study looked at various factors including psychological testing, clinical observations, clinical biochemistry and also metabolomics (which is the scientific study of small molecules generated by the process of metabolism).

The Hull/York paper was peer reviewed by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) in December 2013. COT concluded that ‘the results presented did not indicate any need for action to protect the health of the public’.

Guy Poppy, FSA Chief Scientific Advisor, said: ‘While the best available evidence shows that aspartame can be consumed safely, a number of individuals have reported adverse reactions after consuming food and drink containing aspartame. Given this anecdotal evidence it was appropriate to see if more could be found out about these reported effects. The Hull/York study was not designed to evaluate the overall safety of aspartame as it is already an approved additive.”

The study recruited individuals who reported reactions after consuming aspartame, alongside a matched control group of individuals who normally consume foods containing aspartame without problems. The aspartame was given in a cereal bar so that individuals could not distinguish between bars containing aspartame and the control bars.

The work took the form of a double blind randomised crossover study, the gold standard of scientific research. This type of study is designed to test the effect of a substance in such a way that neither the research team nor the participants know whether the bar consumed contains the test substance or not. Double blind studies therefore eliminate the risk of prejudgment by participants or researchers which could distort the results.

In December 2013, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an opinion on aspartame following a full risk assessment after undertaking a rigorous review of all available scientific research on aspartame and its breakdown products, including both animal and human studies. The EFSA opinion concluded that ‘aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure’.

The FSA will share the results of this study with EFSA.

(Source: FSA website)

FSA UK – Scotland – Several batches recalled for concerns about Clostridium botulinum

Clostridium_difficile
Mrs Unis Spicy Foods has recalled batches of its modified atmosphere packed products because of concerns about procedures to control Clostridium botulinum. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice in Scotland.

The effectiveness of process controls that could potentially affect the safety of modified atmosphere packed products produced by Mrs Unis Spicy Foods cannot be demonstrated satisfactorily. The issue relates to ensuring sufficient controlling factors to prevent the growth and toxin production of the bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum. This may cause a serious form of food poisoning called botulism.

There is not enough evidence to show that the products are safe. This means the company is recalling batches of its products as a precautionary measure.

Product details

Packs of the following products that have a ‘use by’ date of 24 March 2015 are being recalled:

  • Chicken Pakora Bites, 180g
  • Chicken Pakora Strips, 320g
  • Chicken Tikka Bites, 180g
  • Haggis Pakora, 200g
  • Onion Pakora, 200g
  • Vegetable Pakora, 180g
  • Onion Bhaji, 180g

Packs of the following products that have a ‘use by’ date of up to and including 8 April 2015 are being recalled:

  • 6 Vegetable Pakora, 250g
  • 6 Mini Onion Bhajees, 250g
  • Snack Pack, 250g

Mrs Unis Spicy Foods has recalled all affected batches. Point-of-sale notices are being produced for businesses supplied with affected batches. No other Mrs Unis Spicy Foods products are known to be affected.

Consumers are advised not to consume these products. Instead, any product should be returned to the store from where it was bought or should be disposed.

(Source: FSA website)

FVO report – Denmark – Pesticides illegal import

pesticides

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Denmark, carried out between 17 to 24 June 2014, under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official food and feed controls and Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. The objective of the audit was to evaluate the controls on pesticides.

Denmark has a history of promoting alternatives to, and reduction in, pesticide use, and therefore is well placed to fully implement Directive 2009/128/EC. A variable rate pesticide tax, resulting in price increases of several hundred per cent in the case of some products, is the key policy initiative to achieve a substantial reduction in risk associated with pesticide use. Progress towards achieving this ambitious target could be compromised due to difficulties in preventing the illegal import of pesticides from other Member States.

While there are well documented procedures for PPP authorisation, due to national specific requirements it is difficult to gain authorisation through mutual recognition. Despite this, emergency authorisations are granted in cases where other measures are possible. The scope and frequency of inspections is not sufficient to determine that only authorised PPPs are marketed. Weaknesses in controls on retailers and in the PPP formulation analysis programme means the system for detection of illegal or counterfeit PPPs is not satisfactory. There is an excellent system of controls on PPP users.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the Competent Authorities, aimed at rectifying the shortcomings identified and enhancing the implementation of control measures.

(Source: FVO website)

Food recalls in EU – Week 10/2015

Oysters

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 milk ingredient (610 mg/kg – ppm) in chocolate from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Spain;

– Biocontaminants: histamine (between 103 and 193 mg/kg – ppm) in sardinella’s pate from Senegal, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium;

– Food additives and flavorings: undeclared sulphite in Afghan dry plum from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 46.2; Tot. = 61.2 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut powder from Taiwan, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria and Denmark;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence /50g) in moringa leaves powder from India, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Austria, distributed also to Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in dry sausage from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Andorra;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx +, eae + /25g) in blue cheese from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg.

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

– Insufficient labelling (missing instruction that the product requires cooking prior to consumption) of smoked pancetta from Italy, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Food additives and flavorings: too high content of sulphite (2400 mg/kg – ppm) in golden raisins from Chile, packaged in Denmark, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark;

– Non pathogenic micro-organisms: hazelnut kernels, packaged in Sweden, infested with moulds, following company’s own check;

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: unauthorised substance leucomalachite green (39 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen fish from Vietnam, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Unauthorised placing on the market (illegally harvested) of oysters from Ireland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to Netherlands;

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Heavy metals: mercury (1.6 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen blue shark (Prionace glauca) from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– FEED. Composition: too high content of vitamin D (between 35500 and 301000 IU/kg) in kitten and puppy milk from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom;

– FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (0.044; 0.021; 0.094 mg/kg – ppm) from nylon spoons from China, via Slovakia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene (2.97 µg/kg – ppb), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (sum of 4 PAH: 61.38 µg/kg – ppb), benzo(a)anthracene (7.43 µg/kg – ppb), chrysene (48.67 µg/kg – ppb) and benzo(b)fluoranthen (2.31 µg/kg – ppb) in smoked sprats in oil from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 4.78; Tot. = 5.79 µg/kg – ppb) in halva with pistachio nuts from Turkey, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed aslo to Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/100g) in tarama cod eggs from Romania, following an official control on the market. Notified by France.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) and absence of Common Entry Document (CED) for hazelnut butter from Serbia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = >24 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted pistachios from Iran and in pistachio nuts (B1 = 153.5 µg/kg – ppb) from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19.2 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 2.2; Tot. = 2.5 / B1 = 5.1; Tot. = 5.9 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 2.6 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnuts from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 7.2; Tot. = 7.4 µg/kg – ppb) in ground chilli powder from India
  • biphenyl (0,657 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) and fenitrothion (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • fenitrothion (0.84 mg/kg – ppm) in beans from Madagascar
  • cinnamon (Cassia Vera) from Indonesia, via Hong Kong infested with moulds
  • fraudulent health certificate(s) for rice sticks from China
  • lead (0.47 mg/kg – ppm) in durum wheat from India
  • FEED: Salmonella spp. (in 2 out of 13 samples /25g) in fish meal from Mauritania
  • unauthorised placing on the market (Solanum nigrum, Sida cordifolia Operculina turpethum and Nepeta hindostana) of food supplements from India
  • unauthorised substance diafenthiuron (0.050 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • unauthorised substance oxadixyl (0.054 mg/kg – ppm) in flowering tea from China

Free article about TTIP and protection of Geographical Indication

ParmigianoReggianoLandscape-Lres-1000x899

Together with my friend and colleague Francesca Lotta, I recently published the following free article on the protection of EU geographical indication in the context of the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and of the international trade agreements.

It was hosted by the excellent newsletter of Prof. Alfred Hagen Meyer. You can download the full issue here.

You can find many more useful articles, in particular “Portugal – New food information requirements in the pipeline”, by Francesco Montanari.

Food recalls in EU – Week 9/2015

Table_grapes_on_white

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 peanut (41.3 mg/kg – ppm) in milk chocolate biscuits from the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland.

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

Composition: adverse reaction caused by table grapes from South Africa, following a food poisoning. Notified by Denmark;

Composition: unauthorised colour Rhodamine B (7 mg/kg – ppm) in fennel seeds from Pakistan, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Heavy metals: cadmium (0.22 mg/kg – ppm) in canned tuna from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to France, Slovakia and Slovenia;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 190; Tot. = 210 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio from Iran, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in filets de poulet from Belgium, with raw material from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to France;

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furazolidone (AOZ) (2.26 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen rabbit meat from China, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Switzerland.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • acetamiprid (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) and fipronil (0.035 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance diafenthiuron (0.47 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from China, via Hong Kong
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.2 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnut kernels from Georgia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 16.7; Tot. = 19.1 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 2.9 µg/kg – ppb) in blanched peanuts and groundnut kernels (B1 = 8.9; Tot. = 10.05) from China, via Indonesia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 24 µg/kg – ppb) in unshelled peanuts, peanuts in shell (B1 = 24; Tot. = 26 mg/kg – ppm), peanuts (B1 = 65.03; Tot. = 125.53), shelled peanuts (Tot. = 24.4 µg/kg – ppb), groundnuts (B1 = 80.2; Tot. = 105 / B1 = 13.1; Tot. = 21.1 µg/kg – ppb), shelled groundnuts (B1 = 9.8; Tot. = 11.7 µg/kg – ppb) and peanut powder (B1 = 5.1; Tot. = 8.8 / B1 = 5.4; Tot. = 10.3 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 270; Tot. = 330 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from South Africa
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 45.6; Tot. = 49 µg/kg – ppb) in chilli powder from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 5.3 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts from Argentina
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 53.8 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts for bird feed from Brazil
  • FCM: migration of manganese (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) from stainless steel parts of grill from Hong Kong
  • FCM: migration of nickel (0.1 mg/kg – ppm) from tools kit for barbecue from China
  • ochratoxin A (17.4 µg/kg – ppb) and high count of yeasts (3.2E6 CFU/g) in dried figs from Turkey
  • prochloraz (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.024 mg/kg – ppm) in chili peppers from Thailand
  • FEED: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in fish meal from Morocco
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds and white sesame seeds from India
  • too high content of sulphite (2320 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • unauthorised genetically modified red yeast rice extract from China
  • unauthorised irradiation of red rice extract from China
  • unauthorised substance prometryn (0.026 mg/kg – ppm) in roasted seaweed from China
  • unsuitable transport conditions (25% of the lobsters were found dead) for live lobster (Hoarus spp) from Canada

QeA to EU Commission – Mandatory information about the food production site

Newburn bakhouse©Maria Brannigangareth@gdaviesphoto.comwww.gdaviesphoto.com

In Italy there is an ongoing debate about the opportunity to maintain on food labels the indication of the address of the production site of a food as a mandatory particular. This provision was not expressly foreseen under Directive 2000/13/EC and is not mentioned in the Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011. It was in fact a particular that only Italian law requested on mandatory basis (Legislative Decree No 109/1992 implementing Directive 2000/13).

The Italian Government has not notified any draft law requiring indication of such information to date. This means that at the moment provision of information about production site is no longer required for food labels, although  some political parties are strongly asking to reintroduce this obligation.

In this respect,the European Commission has clarified under which circumstances this indication may be legally justified and that information on origin or provenance must not be intended as a tool neither for fraud prevention, nor for protection of public health.

Question for written answer to the Commission – Elisabetta Gardini (PPE) – 2nd February 2015

Subject:  Information regarding food production sites

It is becoming increasingly difficult for European consumers to identify the geographical and production origins of goods due to the growing trend of selling items under the distributors’ brand. In addition, multinational groups are able to relocate their production sites to an entirely different country without needing to inform consumers, who may then be misled when trademarks implying incorrect geographical origins continue to be used.

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, which entered into force on 14 December 2014, contains no provision for mandatory indications of food production sites — this omission has raised serious concerns amongst producers and strong objections from consumers in a number of Member States.

1. In light of the above and following the statements made on 17 January 2015 by the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, Maurizio Martina, can the Commission confirm whether Member States are able to adopt measures rendering this information mandatory, justified on grounds of the protection of public health, but also for the prevention of fraud — as detailed in Article 39 of the above Regulation?

2. Does the Commission intend to clarify obligatory indications of country of origin for foods in all instances where omitting said indication could mislead consumers, including for reason detailed above?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 27th February 2015

Article 39 paragraph 1 of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 provides an exhaustive list of possible justifications for Member States to adopt measures requiring additional mandatory particulars for specific types or categories of foods. Paragraph 2 of that Article specifies that Member States may introduce measures concerning the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of foods only where there is a proven link between certain qualities of the food and its origin or provenance and when evidence is provided that the majority of consumers attach significant value to the provision of this information. The Commission would like however to clarify that it does not consider information on origin or provenance neither as a tool for the prevention of fraud, nor as a tool for the protection of public health. There are other mechanisms in place to ensure the safety and the traceability of food.

Article 26 paragraph 2(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 already requests the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance when its omission might mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the food, in particular if the information accompanying the food or the label, such as the trademark mentioned by the Honourable Member, would otherwise imply a different origin.

(Source: European Parliament)

Food recalls in EU – Week 8/2015

almonds_1401747410

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 almond (>18 mg/kg – ppm) in spice mix from Sweden, via the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to France, Ireland and Malta;

– Biocontaminants: atropine (0.062 mg/kg – ppm) and scopolamine (0.033 mg/kg – ppm) in brown millet from Austria, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria, distributed also to Germany;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 7.02 µg/kg – ppb) in basmati rice from Belgium, manufactured in France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Luxembourg;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (480 CFU/g) in extra tenderloin slices (lomo) from Spain, following a company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and Luxembourg.

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

None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Biocontaminats: atropine (156.2; 207.5 µg/kg – ppb) and scopolamine (27.2; 31.3 µg/kg – ppb) in organic polenta cornmeal from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland;

– Foreign bodies: microchip in pig carcasses from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria, Monaco and Romania;

– Unauthorised novel food ingredient aegeline (presence) in super thermo powder from the United States, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Netherlands;

– Veterinary drug residues (14600 µg/kg – ppb) in various cuts of ovine meat from the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to France and Ireland.

4. Seizures:

5. Border rejections:

  • acetamiprid (0.953 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh peppers from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 27; Tot. = 35 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts and peanut kernels (B1 = 3; Tot. = 3.5 µg/kg – ppb) from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 3.38 / B1 = 3.46 µg/kg – ppb) in blanched groundnuts and peanuts in shell (B1 = 78.9; Tot. = 93.5 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4; Tot. = 15.2 mg/kg – ppm) in roasted chopped hazelnuts and in pistachio nuts (Tot. = 17.16 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • ochratoxin A (61 µg/kg – ppb) in raisins from Afghanistan
  • chlorpyrifos (0.44 mg/kg – ppm), penconazole (0.063 mg/kg – ppm), iprodione (0.290 mg/kg – ppm), acetamiprid (0.016 mg/kg – ppm), tebuconazole (0.18 mg/kg – ppm), tetraconazole (0.052 mg/kg – ppm), esfenvalerate (0.12 mg/kg – ppm), indoxacarb (0.15 mg/kg – ppm), dimethomorph (0.06 mg/kg – ppm), difenoconazole (0.073 mg/kg – ppm), azoxystrobin (0.50 mg/kg – ppm), boscalid (0.5 mg/kg – ppm), kresoxim-methyl (0.05 mg/kg – ppm), pyraclostrobin (0.05 mg/kg – ppm), emamectin (0.016 mg/kg – ppm) and fluopyram (0.058 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances carbendazim (0.24 mg/kg – ppm), carbaryl (0.019 mg/kg – ppm) and fenbutatin oxide (5.4 mg/kg – ppm) in vine leaves in brine from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (12 mg/kg – ppm), pyridaben (2.0 mg/kg – ppm) and acetamiprid (1.6 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance chlorfenapyr (2.1` mg/kg – ppm) in broccoli from China
  • chlorpyrifos-methyl (0.38 mg/kg – ppm) in asparagus peas from the Dominican Republic
  • clofentezine (0.056 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • dead insects (presence in 8% of sampled peanuts) in groundnuts in shell from Egypt
  • fenthion (0.113 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from Turkey
  • lufenuron (0.089 mg/kg – ppm) and methomyl (0.2 mg/kg – ppm) in green beans from Kenya
  • poor temperature control – rupture of the cold chain – of frozen freshwater shrimps (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) from Bangladesh
  • propargite (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in strawberries from Egypt
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds and betel leaves from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx2+, O105H8 /25g) in frozen boneless beef (Bos taurus) from Brazil
  • too high content of sulphite (2178 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • FCM: too high level of overall migration (237 mg/kg – ppm) from hand blender from China
  • unauthorised substances carbofuran (0.07 mg/kg – ppm) and hexaconazole (0.22 mg/kg – ppm) in chili peppers from Vietnam

Wageningen Summer School in Food Law – 9-12 June 2015

Stitched Panorama

On 9-12 June 2015, there will be the 2015 edition of the Wageningen Summer School in Food Law.

The course leaders will be Prof. B.M.J. (Bernd) van der Meulen (European Food Law at Wageningen University) and Prof. Martin Holle (Food law and administrative Law at Hamburg University of Applied Science) and this fact is a guarantee about the quality of the school. I know them as two of the brightest experts in food law and I am sure that their sharp view on the subject and on the food industry could give you a lot of useful hints.

The course is designed for those dealing with food regulatory affairs, including food quality, safety, product development and marketing in public authorities, food businesses, consultancy, legal counselling and academia. The course will strengthen particpants’ background, develop their knowledge in legal and technical issues and enable them to combine both in practice.

During the 4 days a mix of presentations, confrontation with experts in the field and practical work will enlarge your actual knowledge and skills and enable immediate application in your business.

The following subjects will be covered:

• European Food Law in general

• Product- and process requirements

• Communication – via labelling and about risks

• Food law enforcement

You can find more info on the website and here you can download the flyer.

 

Food recalls in EU – Week 7/2015

almonds_1401747410

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 almond (>18 mg/kg – ppm) in fajita dinner kit from Sweden, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland;

– Allergens: undeclared almond (270 mg/kg – ppm) in fajita meal from Sweden, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland;

– Allergens: undeclared almond (306 mg/kg – ppm) in ground cumin from Turkey, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Canada, Spain and via INFOSAN;

– Composition: too high content of vitamin A (50 mg/capsule) in food supplement from the United States, via Sweden, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Norway, distributed also to Denmark and Finland;

– Foreign bodies: metal pieces in canned meat stew from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 57.2; Tot. = 71.5 / B1 = 180.2; Tot. = 220.9 mg/kg – ppm) in peanuts from China, via Greece, following an official control on the market. Notified by Cyprus;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 3.11 µg/kg – ppb) in basmati rice from France, via Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Luxembourg;

– Mycotoxins: deoxynivalenol (DON) (1610; 1690 µg/kg – ppb) in breakfast cereals from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Romania;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella (presence /25g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium.

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

Composition: magnesium aspartate unauthorised in food supplement from China, via Sweden, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Norway, distributed also to Denmark and Finland;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (presence/25g) in blue cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by Sweden;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Indiana in duck meat from the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by Iceland.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Composition: too high content of vitamin D (D3: 0.125 mg/capsule) in food supplements from Sweden, notified from Norway. Distributed also to Denmark and Finland;

– Heavy metals: mercury (1.1; 1.2 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen blue shark (Prionace glauca) from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Spain, distributed also to Portugal;

– Heavy metals: mercury (1.9 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen black marlin steak from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Slovakia;

– Heavy metals: mercury (2; 1.4 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Spain;

– Heavy metals: cadmium (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) and mercury (3.1 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen black marlin steaks from Spain, packaged in the Czech Republic, following an official control on the market. Notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Slovakia;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: norovirus in oysters from France, following food poisoning. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and Italy.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) and absence of certified analytical report for peanut butter from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10; Tot. = 12 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Argentina and from Brazil (B1 = 39; Tot. = 49 µg/kg – ppb)
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 11.1; Tot. = 12.3 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled groundnuts and in groundnuts in shell (B1 = 4.7 / B1 = 2.2 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 17 µg/kg – ppb) in chilli peppers from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 295.5 µg/kg – ppb, B1 = 17.3; Tot. = 19.6 / B1 = 38.9; Tot. = 42.3 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19.9; Tot. = 41.6 µg/kg – ppb) in apricot kernels from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 39; Tot. = 43 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted diced hazelnuts from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 50.9; Tot. = 57.1 / B1 = 22.2; Tot. = 22.3 µg/kg – ppb) in almond kernels from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 16.2 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnuts and hazelnut kernels (Tot. = 27.9 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • ochratoxin A (11.8 µg/kg – ppb) in raisins from Afghanistan
  • altered organoleptic characteristics and poor temperature control of frozen tuna from Panama
  • chlorpyrifos (0.30 mg/kg – ppm), dithiocarbamates (10.4 mg/kg – ppm), pyrimethanil (0.92 mg/kg – ppm), iprodione (0.860 mg/kg – ppm), tebuconazole (0.42 mg/kg – ppm), tetraconazole (0.052 mg/kg – ppm), lambda-cyhalothrin (0.046 mg/kg – ppm), methoxyfenozide (0.50 mg/kg – ppm), dimethomorph (0.13 mg/kg – ppm), azoxystrobin (2.0 mg/kg – ppm), trifloxystrobin (0.082 mg/kg – ppm), boscalid (1.4 mg/kg – ppm), kresoxim-methyl (0.15 mg/kg – ppm), metrafenone (0.82 mg/kg – ppm) and fluopyram (0.084 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance fenbutatin oxide (10.9 mg/kg – ppm) in vine leaves in brine from Turkey
  • deltamethrin (2.9 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh mint from Morocco
  • fenamiphos (0.112 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • FCM: migration of formaldehyde (32.6; 43.5; 58.7; 44.3 mg/kg – ppm) from plastic serving trays from China
  • FCM: migration of nickel (0.2 mg/kg – ppm) from barbecue set from China
  • norovirus (G II /25g) in frozen cooked whole white clams (Meretrix lyrata) from Vietnam
  • propoxur (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Ethiopia
  • residue level above MRL for albendazole (780 µg/kg – ppb) in corned beef from Brazil
  • residue level above MRL for copper (122.2 mg/kg – ppm) in wine leaves from Turkey
  • Salmonella Amsterdam (1 out of 5 samples /25g) and Salmonella Mbandaka (4 out of 5 samples /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella spp. (present /25g) in turkey meat preparation from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. in frozen poultry meat preparation from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. in frozen seasoned chicken fillets (Gallus gallus domesticus) from Brazil
  • spoilage of salted sheep casings from China
  • FEED: too high count of Enterobacteriaceae (820 CFU/g) in fish meal from Mauritania
  • FEED: Salmonella spp. in fish meal from Mauritania

 

Canada – Three recalls for botulism

Clostridium_difficile

In the recent notifications from the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), we can find an high number of warnings for Clostridium botulinum in different foods:

– Elite Salads brand White Fish:

Ottawa, February 10, 2015 – Elite Salads International is recalling Elite Salads brand White Fish from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below:

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Elite Salads White Fish 200 g Best Before Mar. 15, 2015 7 77739 00060 0

– Smoked trout & smoked arctic char

Ottawa, February 19, 2015 – Lake Land Meats & Farm Market is recalling smoked trout and smoked arctic char from the marketplace because they may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

The affected products were sold in variable weight packages at the following retail locations in Ontario during the periods shown below.

Retail Location Address Dates Sold
Lake Land Meats Farm & Market Retail Store 1226 St. Paul St. West
St. Catharines ON
Up to and including February 13, 2015.
Cheese Shoppe on Locke 190 Locke St. South
Hamilton ON
Up to and including February 13, 2015.
Upper Canada Cheese Company 4159 Jordan Rd.
Jordan Station ON
Up to and including February 13, 2015.

Consumers who are unsure if they have purchased the affected product are advised to contact their retailer.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
None Smoked Trout variable None None
None Smoked Arctic Char variable None None

– Elite Salads brand White Fish:

Ottawa, February 20, 2015 – The food recall warning issued on February 10, 2015 has been updated to include additional product information. This additional information was identified during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) food safety investigation.

Elite Salads International is recalling Elite Salads brand White Fish from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Elite Salads White Fish 200 g Best Before Feb. 25, 2015 7 77739 00060 0

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

(Source: CFIA website)

Written QeA to EU Commission – IUU Regulation (combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing)

Itano_ITAN0_IMG_1073

Question for written answer to the Commission – Nicola Caputo (S&D) – 4th December 2014

During the confirmation hearings for the Juncker Commission, the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said that his priority will be to protect the natural capital on which sustainable growth depends and safeguard the health and well-being of citizens. He also said that he wanted to consult very soon with the European Parliament and the Council on updating the IUU Regulation.

Furthermore, it is a known fact that illegal fishing is a threat to the sustainable use of resources and compromises the common fisheries policy and international efforts to improve the management of ocean resources and seas.

In light of the above, can the Commission, as a whole and without prejudice to the competences of the Member States, explain how it proposes to:

1. more effectively combat this highly profitable practice, restricting access to the market to certified products only?
2. guarantee greater surveillance and more effective sanctions for violations?
3. increase awareness of the practice among consumers and users?

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission – 3rd February 2015

The EU has put in place a comprehensive system of rules dealing with the control of fishing activities, the combat of illegal fishing and the elimination of the access of IUU fish to the EU market as set out in the Control(1) and IUU Regulations(2).

With respect to the combat of the IUU activities the Commission is working on the following areas:

Establishing a global and integrated common approach to fisheries control ‘from the net to the plate’,
Enhancing mutual cooperation between all Member States, third countries, the Commission and the European Fishery Control Agency,
Developing a culture of compliance for all stakeholders and disseminating useful information to raise awareness,
Ensuring a level-playing field across the EU in terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the EU IUU rules,
Applying effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for serious infringements against these rules,
Guiding Member States on issues concerning the application of the EU catch certification system,
Promoting robust and targeted controls at EU ports through an active use of the mutual assistance system, exchange of information and best practices between the Commission and Member States,
Cooperating with third countries in addressing IUU problems and achieving structural changes in their fisheries management systems to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.

The Commission intends to continue and reinforce its work in those areas in the coming years.

(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 L343/1, 22.12.2009.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, OJ L 286/1, 29.10.2008.

(Source: European Parliament)

New Low-sodium, MSG-free Salt Ingredient Boost flavor and saltiness in Sauces

Salt of the Earth Launches New, Low-sodium, MSG-free Salt Ingredient

In the rush to the salt reduction is common to see new ingredients on the market which should help products’ reformulation. If in Italy, for instance, for the soups there is a voluntary protocol signed by the Associations for salt reduction, in many countries in the world (South Africa is the last one I discovered) there are legislative boundaries for salt content in several categories of foodstuffs, and the trend is: “reduction”.

Salt of the Earth Ltd. launches its Umami-Essence Sea Salt ingredient especially designed for a comprehensive range of sauces. Using Umami-Essence Sea Salt in a new or existing product formulation can help dramatically decrease sodium levels—in some formulations by up to 50%—while boosting flavor. The all-natural Umami-Essence Sea Salt is low in sodium and, most importantly, contains no MSG or artificial ingredients.

“This innovative ingredient can help food manufacturers keep the consumer-craved salty flavor while maintaining a low amount of sodium in the final application,” explains Aliza Ravizki, R&D manager of Salt of the Earth. “It’s a ready-to-use liquid formulation that can naturally intensify umami, the so-called 5th taste of the finished dish.”

The characteristics of Umami-Essence Sea Salt help food scientists innovate healthier reduced-salt recipes that contain only natural ingredients and don’t compromise flavor,” explains Giorit Carmi, Marketing Manager for Salt of the Earth. “It provides food manufacturers a much simpler way to include a clean label claim on products and to comply with the global salt-reduction agenda of cutting sodium in processed foods.”

“This is the first specifically umami-enhancing ingredient developed by Salt of The Earth,” adds Ravizki. “We tested the formulation in a range of sauces, pizza toppings and more and achieved outstanding results in terms of saltiness and savory flavor. This superior ingredient enables clean labeling while avoiding MSG and enhancing the final product flavor.”

London (2nd June 2015)- Food&Beverage Law&IP Conference – Food fraud panel

FBIP_HEADER2

On 2nd June 2015 I will be guest speaker at the Food&Beverage Law&IP conference, organised in London by IPRConnections in the exclusive location of the London Stock Exchange. Foodlawlatest.com is a media partner of the event and I have to thank you my dear friend Christos Apostolou for producing this amazing event.

The F&B Law & IP event is the premier event supporting creative partnerships in the food and beverage industry. The event is bringing together the most influential brand and IP owners, f&b manufacturers,  licensees and licensed goods retailers and is a perfect mix of regulatory, labelling and IP themes. There will be specific panel on counterfeiting, parallel imports, food frauds, labelling and geographical indications.

There will be speakers and representative from the most well recognised companies in the world, such as Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, Scotch Whisky Association, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Pernod Ricard, Red Bull Asia and many others.

Together with one of the most experienced person in EU regarding the fight against food fraud, John Coady, Chief Audit Manager in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and member of the FSAI’s multi-agency Food Fraud Task Force, I will speak in a panel full of case study about recent food frauds events and tips about what is going on at EU level. As Vice President EU Business and Regulatory affairs at Inscatech, I will give you some hints about how to protect your business from food frauds and about the pivotal role of the intelligence in preventing those events. Inscatech has established a solid reputation in the food industry as both a pioneer and the sole provider of food fraud intelligence investigations, forensically based vulnerability assessments, supplier qualification examinations, validated supply chain mapping, and food fraud vulnerability control programs. The company is well recognised in the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Food Frauds think thank and you can read more about our activity on this amazing article on Wired.

Here you can find the provisional agenda and book your place at the event.

Unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the business-to-business food supply chain

groceries

Question for written answer to the Commission – 6th November 2014 – Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE)

Over the past month there has been a series of allegations made against the UK supermarket chain Tesco. The UK Government’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched an official criminal investigation into Tesco, taking over from an already existent investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Duncan Swift, who leads the Food Advisory Group at respected audit firm Moore Stephens LLP, has emphasised that ‘supermarket buyers, operating in trading rooms similar to those operated by the banks and investment companies’ have placed pressure on supply chains. If buyer bonuses are influencing the price of Tesco’s purchasing then it is clear that the size and behaviour of supermarkets is having an unfair impact on the amount farmers receive for their produce.

1. Under current EC law, is it legal for supermarkets to operate a ‘buyer bonus’ scheme as currently used by Tesco?

2. If it can be proven that such practices are having an adverse impact on the prices which producers receive, does the Commission intend to reconsider its position on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) which, it concluded in June 2014, were an issue best left for national governments?

Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission – 5th February 2015

In July 2013, the Commission adopted a communication Tackling unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the business-to-business food supply chain. The communication suggests a set of principles of best practice as the basis for a common understanding between Member States in terms of what does and does not constitute unfair practices. Buyer bonuses, offered by retailers to their employees, are not specifically covered by the communication and there is also no legislation at EU level that prohibits such bonuses.

The communication calls on Member States to ensure that rules against UTPs can be enforced effectively. In the specific case of the United Kingdom, an enforcement authority responsible for tackling UTPs already exists, namely the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Over the following year, the Commission will assess whether Member States have established enforcement frameworks against UTPs and to which degree these are effective on the basis of the criteria defined in the communication. The Commission will report the findings of this assessment to the European Parliament and Council and, at that stage, decide whether further action at EU level is necessary.

(Source: European Parliament)

Food recalls in EU – Week 6/2015

Shoppers-guaranteed-low-fat-minced-meat

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:

– Additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphite (740 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis in frozen minced meat from Poland, following a food poisoning. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (presence /25g) in sliced beef tongues from Belgium, with raw material from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg and United Kingdom.

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

None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: residue level above MRL for salinomycin (18.4 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen chicken from France, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

– Suffocation risk as a result of the consumption (large pieces of pasta) of organic baby food from Germany, following company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium.

4. Seizures:

We have a seizure in Italy of frozen swordfish loins from Portugal containing mercury (1.6 mg/kg – ppm).

5. Border rejections:

  • FCM: absence of certified analytical report for melamine kitchenware from Hong Kong
  • absence of health certificate(s) for fig jam from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 42; Tot. = 55 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs and diced dried figs (B1 = 19.7; Tot. = 33 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 31 µg/kg – ppb) in nutmeg from Indonesia
  • cyfluthrin (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) in strawberries from Egypt
  • dead insects in groundnuts in shell from Egypt
  • endosulfan II (0.25 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.029 mg/kg – ppm) in aubergines from the Dominican Republic
  • fenvalerate (0.63 mg/kg – ppm) in beans from Bangladesh
  • fosthiazate (0.056 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • groundnut kernels from Argentina infested with moulds
  • improper health certificate(s) for groundnuts from Egypt
  • orthophenylphenol (0.35 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from China
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves and sesame seeds from India
  • too high content of sulphite (2848 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient Dendrobium nobile in fruit punch from the United States
  • unauthorised substance chlorfluazuron (0.056 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from Morocco
  • unauthorised substance profenofos (0.027 mg/kg – ppm) in basmati rice from India
  • unauthorised use of colour E 127 – erythrosine in strawberry flavoured cream biscuits from India

Books – Risk Regulation in Non-Animal Food Imports (Montanari F. et al.)

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My dear friend Francesco Montanari recently published this excellent book – co-authored with Veronika Jezso and Carlo Donati – which highlights one of the less explored areas of food law: the import of food of non-animal origin. Despite these products are traditionally considered less dangerous than food of animal origin, recent food crisis showed that this stereotype is set to change. Moreover, this subject has a major impact on market access and, more generally, on trade flows in a globalized and theoretically liberalized market.

Risk Regulation in Non-Animal Food Imports,  Montanari F., Jezso V., Donati. C., Springer Brief February 2015. Here you can download the table of contents.

This latest Springer Brief aims at providing a general understanding of the rationale – scientific as well as political – behind EU policy and related risk management decisions regarding imports of food of non-animal origin. Indeed, over the last years, threats deriving from imported food of non-animal origin seem to have multiplied, including sprout seeds contaminated with E. coli  and strawberries containing hepatitis A or noroviruses.

Against this background, the authors explain the mechanism of reinforced controls at EU borders on certain imports of non-animal origin as well as the wide spectrum of EU emergency measures  currently imposing trade restrictions on some of those products considered as presenting a high risk for public health. They also examine all chemical and non-chemical risks that may be associated with imports of non-animal origin and their impact on human health, taking into account the scientific output by the European Food Safety Authority.

Study on physical activity calorie equivalent labeling

Cycling

An interesting study on potential effect of physical activity calorie equivalent labeling on parent fast food decisions was recently published by Anthony J. Viera, MD, MPH and Ray Antonelli on the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Here below you can find the abstract:

OBJECTIVES: Menu labels displaying food energy in physical activity calorie equivalents (PACE) is a possible strategy to encourage ordering meals with fewer calories and promoting physical activity. Potential effects of such labeling for children have never been examined.

METHODS: We conducted a national survey of 1000 parents randomized to 1 of 4 fast food menus: no labels, calories only, calories plus minutes, or calories plus miles needed to walk to burn the calories. Respondents were asked to imagine they were in a fast food restaurant and place an order for their child. At the survey’s conclusion, all respondents were shown a calorie-only label and both PACE labels and asked to rate the likelihood each label would influence them to encourage their child to exercise.

RESULTS: We excluded respondents whose meals totaled 0 calories or .4000 calories, leaving 823 parents in the analysis. The mean age of the child for whom the meal was “ordered” was 9.5 years. Parents whose menus displayed no label ordered an average of 1294 calories, whereas those shown calories only, calories plus minutes, or calories plus miles ordered 1066, 1060, and 1099 calories, respectively (P = .0001). Only 20% of parents reported that calories only labeling would be “very likely” to prompt them to encourage their children to exercise versus 38% for calories plus minutes (P , .0001) and 37% for calories plus miles (P , .0001).

CONCLUSIONS: PACE labeling may influence parents’ decisions on what fast food items to order for their children and encourage them to get their children to exercise.

Food Veterinay Office on Youtube

Today I want to compliment with the FVO for this wonderful video and for their smart approach to technology and social media. FVO is certainly not the most well known office for the public, but is one of the main guardian of the safety of the foodstuffs on your table.

The FVO carries out audits, inspections and related non-audit activities to ensure that EU  legislation on food safety, animal health, animal welfare, plant health and in the area of medical devices is properly implemented and enforced. This means EU citizens enjoy a high level of safety, and that goods are traded under safe conditions.

With a team of some 180 professionals from most EU  Member States the FVO’s primary role is to conduct audits or inspections to ensure the national authorities are fulfilling their legal obligations. This can be done during on-the-spot audits, or by desk based exercises or collation of Member States data. The audit is on the system not individual premises and it culminates in a written report. You can find reports for both Member States and non-EU countries by clicking on Audit Reports or on the interactive map.

The office also produces overview reports that provide a summary of a series of audits conducted in a certain sector. This provides information to all stakeholders and contributes to the development of legislation.

Food recall in EU – Week 5/2015

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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 hazelnut and almond in peanut butter from the Netherlands, following a food poisoning. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Sweden;

–  FEED. Composition: too high content of ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) seeds (99 and 82 mg/kg – ppm) in mix for wild birds from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark;

– FEED. Composition: too high content of ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) seeds (200 and 221 mg/kg – ppm) in sunflower seeds from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark;

– FEED. Composition: too high content of ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) seeds (100 mg/kg – ppm) in seed mixture for bird feed from Austria, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 6.7; Tot. = 11 µg/kg – ppb) in sesame seeds from Nigeria, via Sweden, following an official control on the market. Notified by Finland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Bacillus cereus (2200 CFU/g) in mini rice cakes vanilla from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in grinded melon seeds from the United Kingdom, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (1500 CFU/g) in raw milk cheese from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France.

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

- Packaging defective: incorrect use of packaging for smoked salmon from Belgium, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

- Risk of chemical contamination of brown beans from Nigeria, following an official control in non-member country. Notified by Ireland;

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared lactoprotein in meat sauce from Italy, following company’s own check. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Switzerland;

– Biotoxins: Staphylococcal enterotoxin (9,4 x 10^5 CFU/g) in egg pasta from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in canned mushrooms from China, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Afghanistan, AngolaArgentina, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United States and Yemen;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments (11 glass pieces, 1 cm x 1 cm) in broccoli from Poland, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (presence /25g) in various cheeses from Austria, following company’s own check. Notified by Austria, distributed also to Slovenia, Italy and Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis in frozen chicken leg from Belgium, following an official control in non-member country. Distributed also to Germany, Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enterica (presence /10g) in frozen kangaroo meat preparations from the Netherlands, with raw material from Australia, via Belgium, following an official control in non-member country. Notified by Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen springbok steak from Namibia, via Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in chilled beef meat from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Netherlands.

4. Seizures:

We have a seizure in Bulgaria of FEED for fish from the Netherlands for presence of ruminant DNA.

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 13.3; Tot. = 16.0 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnut kernels and in dried organic figs (B1 = 22.2 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 28.6 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio nuts and in pistachio in shell (B1 = 64.2; Tot. = 72.7 µg/kg – ppb) from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 3.91; Tot. = 13.82 µg/kg – ppb) in blanched peanuts and groundnut kernels (B1 = 5.1; Tot. = 5.9 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.6 µg/kg – ppb) in blanched runner groundnuts and groundnuts (B1 = 7.8 µg/kg – ppb) from Argentina
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 6; Tot. = 7.4 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut butter from the Philippines
  • ochratoxin A (24 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Turkey
  • anthraquinone (0.081 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • carbendazim (0.49 mg/kg – ppm) in artichokes from Egypt
  • chlorpyrifos (0.13 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • cinnamon from Indonesia infested with moulds
  • parasitic infestation (Anisakis) of dory (Zeus faber) from Mauritania
  • unsuitable organoleptic characteristics of frozen skipjack (Euthynnus pelamis) from Curaçao
  • flusilazole (0.14 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers, white peppers (0.091 mg/kg – ppm) and hot peppers (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) from Egypt
  • methomyl (0.29 mg/kg – ppm) and flusilazole (0.014 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet California yellow and red peppers from Egypt
  • FEED: microbiological contamination of peanuts in shell for bird feed from China
  • FCM: migration of cadmium (2.3 ->7.6 mg/dm²) and of lead (34 -> 105 mg/dm²) from various glasses from Russia
  • FCM: migration of chromium (0.8 mg/kg – ppm) from steel knives and of nickel from oven grids (0.29 mg/kg – ppm) from China
  • pickled onions in brine from Vietnam with defective packaging and infested with moulds and with insects
  • prothiofos (0.16 mg/kg – ppm), omethoate and dimethoate (sum: 0.14 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh sour mangoes from Thailand
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves and hulled sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from Nigeria
  • too high content of sulphite (2239 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient Basil (Ocimum sanctum), novel food ingredient Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and novel food ingredient camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) in food supplements from Canada
  • unauthorised substance chlorfluazuron (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) in tea from Morocco

Practical Course for FBOs – Official Controls and Food Frauds: how to be prepared?

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On 26th February I will be in Bologna where, in cooperation with Eurofishamrket, we organized a course on the legislative framework of the official controls on the market. The aim of the training is to explain to food business operators the EU and Italian relevant legislation, the procedures, the criminal/administrative sanctions, and the rights that the law grant them in case of inspection/official controls.

In the second part of the day there will be also some practical tips about food recalls management and food fraud prevention, a brief overview of the EU work on food frauds and of the upcoming EU legislation on official controls.

Here you can download the brochure and book your place. The registration will be open until 16th February and the number of participants will be limited to 25. Language: Italian.

Programme:

9.00 Registration

9:30 to 11:00

  • The principles of Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004;

  • The Italian legislation on official controls, sampling and analysis procedures;

  • The general principles of administrative sanctions (Law 689/1981);

  • Competent authorities and potential overlappings. Communication and coordination problems.

11-11.20 Coffee Break

11:20 to 12:30

  • Administrative sanctions: procedures and right of the food business operator;

  • Sampling and analysis: exam of the different procedures and rights of the food business operator;

  • How to manage inspections by the Authority?

13:00 to 14:00 Networking Lunch

14:00 to 15:30

  • The various types of seizures and measures applicable by the Competent Authorities;

  • Criminal liability (case study);

  • Administrative Sanctions (case study);

  • Rapid Alert System for food and feed (RASFF) and its relationship with criminal/administrative sanctions;

  • Strategies for crisis management.

15:30 to 15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 to 17:00

  • The new draft of EU Regulation on official controls;

  • EU preparatory work for tighter rules on food fraud;

  • Strategies to combat food frauds: how to prevent?

Eurofishmarket was founded in 2004 and it is a leading firm specialized in marketing, training and legal services on seafood sector.

Eurofishmarket’s Team consists of skilled professionals with a global reach: technical advisors including veterinaries with significant experiences of the fish and aquaculture sector, media experts, video developers and lawyers.

Food recalls in EU – Week 4/2015

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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:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. in organic sesame cream from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

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

Allergens: undeclared wheat in noodles from Thailand, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Brandenburg in sausages from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Switzerland and San Marino;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) in chilled chicken fillets from Belgium, with raw material from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Industrial contaminants: dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorobifenyls (sum: 8.7 pg WHO TEQ/g) in cheese from Romania, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 160; Tot. = 210 µg/kg – ppb) in nutmeg from Indonesia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 21; Tot. = 25.1 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut kernels from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 26; Tot. = 27 µg/kg – ppb) in dried chillies from Pakistan
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 72.3; Tot. = 76.6 / B1 = 118.5; Tot. = 128 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell from Iran
  • ochratoxin A (21.1 µg/kg – ppb) in raisins from Uzbekistan
  • buprofezin (0.28 mg/kg – ppm) and imidacloprid (0.21 mg/kg – ppm), triazophos (0.08 mg/kg – ppm), acetamiprid (0.24 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances isoprocarb (0.065 mg/kg – ppm) and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) (0.079 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • carbendazim (0.245 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • dimethoate (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances monocrotophos (0.26 mg/kg – ppm) and phorate (1.2 mg/kg – ppm) in betel leaves from India
  • imazalil (10.2 mg/kg – ppm) in grapefruit from Turkey
  • malathion (0.044 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • methamidophos (0.119 mg/kg – ppm) and acephate (0.920 mg/kg – ppm) in okra from India
  • oxamyl (0.026 mg/kg – ppm) and lambda-cyhalothrin (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in mix chillies from Egypt
  • poor hygienic state of sesame seeds from Nigeria infested with larvae of insects
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • unauthorised substances trichlorphon (0.13 mg/kg – ppm) and dichlorvos (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) in dried sweet beans from Nigeria
  • Salmonella Agona and Bredeney in sesame seeds from India and Salmonella spp in hulled sesame seeds
  • Salmonella Havana in rice protein meal from China
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen meat preparation and in frozen prepared turkey breasts from Brazil
  • norovirus (presence /25g) in frozen clams from Vietnam
  • poor temperature control (-10.4; -9.5; -10.6; -11.2; -11.1 °C) of frozen precooked tuna loins from Papua New Guinea
  • residue level above MRL for oxytetracycline (251 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen sushi shrimps (Penaeus vannamei) from Vietnam
  • suspicion of fraudulent health certificate(s) for rice cooking wine from China
  • too high content of sulphite (3000 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • too high content of vitamin B6 (50 mg/item) in food supplement from the United States
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient jequirity (Abrus precatorius) in mouth freshener from India
  • FCM: migration of bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DOTP) (420 mg/kg – ppm) from lids of jars containing chili paste from Thailand
  • FCM: migration of chromium (0.3 mg/kg – ppm) from peeler from China
  • FCM: migration of nickel (0.2 mg/kg – ppm) from electric beater from China
  • FCM: too high level of overall migration (55 mg/dm²) from vegetables cutting items from China
  • FEED: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in dog chews from Turkey
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 104 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled groundnuts for birdfeed from Brazil

Food recalls in EU – Week 3/2015

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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:

Foreign bodies: glass fragments in dip-sauce from Germany, following consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also in Austria, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Spain;

Foreign bodies: plastic fragments in frozen dino-shaped chicken nuggets from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Germany;

Foreign bodies: metal pieces (2 spiral, sharp-edged pieces) in ham sausage from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania and Spain;

Pesticide residues: unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.035 mg/kg – ppm) in limes from Brazil, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Netherlands.

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

Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene (65 µg/kg – ppb) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (330 µg/kg – ppb) in cocoa from the Netherlands, dispatched from Bosnia and Herzegovina, following a border control. Notified by Slovenia.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) in chilled chicken fillets from Belgium, with raw material from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Allergens: undeclared soya (>100 mg/kg – ppm) in candies from Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • FCM:too high level of overall migration (55 mg/dm²) from vegetables cutting items from China
  • FCM: migration of bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DOTP) (420 mg/kg – ppm) from lids of jars containing chili paste from Thailand
  •  aflatoxins (B1 = 21; Tot. = 25.1 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut kernels from China
  • unauthorised substances trichlorphon (0.13 mg/kg – ppm) and dichlorvos (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) in dried sweet beans from Nigeria
  • too high content of vitamin B6 (50 mg/item) in food supplement from the United States
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 104 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled groundnuts for birdfeed from Brazil
  • oxamyl (0.026 mg/kg – ppm) and lambda-cyhalothrin (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in mix chillies from Egypt
  • malathion (0.044 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.28 mg/kg – ppm) and propamocarb (2 mg/kg – ppm) in artichoke (Cynara scolimus) from Tunisia
  • carbendazim (0.89 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruit from Vietnam
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19.84; Tot. = 23.12 µg/kg – ppb) in nutmeg from Turkey
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • unauthorised placing on the market of food supplements containing Stephania or Chelidonium majus from Vietnam and Ukraine
  • Salmonella Senftenberg (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • chlorpyrifos (0.16 mg/kg – ppm) in mint from Morocco
  • too high content of sulphite (3305 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen chicken meat preparation from Brazil
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 14.3 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 11.7; Tot. = 12.2 µg/kg – ppb) in red chilli from Pakistan
  • unauthorised substances monocrotophos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) and profenofos (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) in okra from India
  • carbaryl (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 12 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnuts from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 22; Tot. = 27 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted salted pistachios from Turkey
  • too high content of sulphite (2690 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • undeclared sulphite in dried apricots from Turkey
  • prohibited substance chloramphenicol (0.38 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei) from Vietnam
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (presence) in frozen beef (Bos taurus) from Brazil
  • Salmonella Mbandaka (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • missing import declaration for dates, figs, walnuts and nuts mix from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance dinotefuran (0.025 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled strawberries from Egypt
  • flusilazole (0.054 mg/kg – ppm) in white peppers from Egypt
  • acetamiprid (0.057 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey

Brief overview on the Reg. (EU) n. 1169/2011, also known as FIC (“Food information to consumers”).

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Following the requests of many of my “non-EU” readers, I publish a brief recap of the new provisions of the Regulation…and some links to useful resources.

As of 13 December 2014, new EU food labeling rules are in force: from this date became applicable the Regulation (EU) n. 1169/2011 on food information to consumers, also known as FIC or FIR Regulation. The aim of the new rules is to ensure that consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive and accurate information on food content, helping them to make informed choices about what they eat. The new Regulation replaces the old Directive 2000/13/EU, which is now repealed.

Some of the key changes to the labeling rules are outlined below:

  • Improved legibility of the information (minimum font size for mandatory information, now 1,2 mm in the most of cases);

  • Clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens (e.g. soy, nuts, gluten, lactose) for prepacked foods (emphasised by font, style or background colour) in the list of ingredients;

  • Mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked food, including those sold in restaurants and cafes;

  • Requirement of certain nutrition information for majority of prepacked processed foods (applicable from 13th December 2016);

  • Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry (Reg. (EU) n. 1337/2014);

  • Same labeling requirements for online, distance-selling or buying in a shop;

  • List of engineered nanomaterials in the ingredients.

  • Specific information on the vegetable origin of refined oils and fats;

  • Strengthened rules to prevent misleading practices;

  • Indication of substitute ingredient for ‘Imitation’ foods;

  • Clear indication of “formed meat” or “formed fish”;

  • Clear indication of defrosted products;

  • Clear indication of added water, especially in meat and fish products.

The Regulation was published three years ago and provides a transitional period for exhaustion of stocks for foods placed on the market or labeled before 13 December 2014 (but this does not includes labels).

Despite food business operators have been given three years to ensure a smooth transition towards the new labeling regime for prepacked and non-prepacked foods, the situation is quite to be clear, especially for non-prepacked foods, where there is not a full harmonization and the EU Commission left space to national legislation.

On this side, there is also an ongoing study on the feasibility of a EU database to facilitate the identification of all EU and national mandatory labeling rules in a simple way. This should offer a user-friendly tool for all food business operators and for SME’s, but it will not be ready at least until the second part of 2015.

Recently, on the DG SANCO website, were published Guidelines related to the indication of the presence of certain substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as described in Article 9.1(c) and listed in Annex II of the Regulation. The document is the subject of a public consultation that will end on 4th January 2015 and it covers also some aspects related to non-prepacked foods.

On 31st January 2013, the EU Commission published the first – and until now unique – document of clarification of some specific provisions: Questions and Answers on the application of the Regulation (EU) N° 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. More Q&A and guidelines documents are expected to be published in the next few months: they will cover different topics, in particular general labeling, nutrition labeling, the QUID (Quantitative Ingredients Declaration) and specific products’ type (i.e. meat and fish).

New Natural Liquid Extract Line for Flavor and Sensory Boost

EFLARsense line enhances flavor and health in beverages, foods and supplements

Frutarom BU Health, Switzerland, launches EFLA®sense, a new line of all-natural liquid exctracts, with sensory properties to boost flavor and health benefits in products such as beverages, confectionary, dairy, bakery and liquid dietary supplements.

The use of herbal extracts is an emerging ingredient trend for many market categories according to global product launch activity tracked by Innova Market Insights. There was a 4% increase in global tracked product launches containing herbal extracts in 2014 from 2013, with more future growth anticipated. Supplements was the most active market category for herbal extract applications in 2014, accounting for 11.5% of global product launch activity tracked, followed by Sauces & Seasonings (6.8%), Ready Meals (5.9%) and Soft Drinks (4.9%).

EFLA®sense line contains natural botanic extracts from flowers (including chamomile, elderflower and orange blossom); leaves (peppermint, lemon balm and sage); fruits and seeds (fennel and rose hips) and several herbal blends. These essences are obtained from traditional plants and meet the increasing consumer demand for health and wellness products and clean label. The new line is produced in Switzerland through a gentle process that preserves the delicate flavors and aromatic properties of the ingredients.

“The natural line provides healthy solutions to naturally enhance the taste of finished foods with nuances of flowers, herbs and other essences of nature, says Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom BU Health. “We offer unique natural herbal extracts to help our customers reinvent their products and add healthy sensory appeal.”

EFLA®sense also is especially suitable for liquid supplement products such as “shots,” an excellent bridge between the emerging need for health-promoting nutraceuticals and the inconvenience of swallowing a large number of tablets. The healthy flavor extracts have a typical dosage of 0.1-0.2% and are heat- and pH-stable.

“We carefully select our raw materials and rigorously control the supply chain and production to ensure high purity and quality of our plant extracts,” explains Capelle. “Frutarom BU health has strict protocols for quality and safety assessment in order to provide customers the best sustainable flavor line while enabling clean label capacity.

EFSA – No consumer health risk from bisphenol A exposure

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EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources (diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper) is considerably under the safe level (the “tolerable daily intake” or TDI).

Although new data and refined methodologies have led EFSA’s experts to considerably reduce the safe level of BPA from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day (µg/kg of bw/day) to 4 µg/kg of bw/day, the highest estimates for dietary exposure and for exposure from a combination of sources (called “aggregated exposure” in EFSA’s opinion) are three to five times lower than the new TDI.

Uncertainties surrounding potential health effects of BPA on the mammary gland, reproductive, metabolic, neurobehavioural and immune systems have been quantified and factored in to the calculation of the TDI. In addition, the TDI is temporary pending the outcome of a long-term study in rats, which will help to reduce these uncertainties.

You can find the full opinion and the toxicological/exposure assessments HERE.

BPA is a controversial chemical compound used in the manufacture of food contact materials such as re-usable plastic tableware and can coatings (mainly protective linings). Another widespread use of BPA is in thermal paper commonly used in till/cash register receipts. Residues of BPA can migrate into food and beverages and be ingested by the consumer; BPA from other sources including thermal paper, cosmetics and dust can be absorbed through the skin and by inhalation.

Despite the positive outcomes of many scientific opinions, BPA is banned in many countries for the use in baby bottles and in France, since 1st January 2015, is prohibited for use in all food contact materials.

A recent study is advacing he hypothesis that some substitutes of BPA could be even more dangerous than this substance.

Food recalls in EU – Week 2/2015

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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:

Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene (12.7 µg/kg – ppb) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (57.42 µg/kg – ppb) in sprats pate from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Greece.

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

- Heavy metals: migration of cadmium (0.376 mg/kg – ppm) from canned pear halves in light syrup from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Composition: unauthorised substances methyl-synephrine, phenethylamine and phenethylamine derivative (beta-methylphenethylamine) in food supplement from the United States, via the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland;

– Food additives and flavourings: too high content of thujone (48 mg/l) in absinthe 55 essence from Sweden, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also in Luxembourg;

– Food additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphite (54 mg/kg – ppm) in shelled walnuts from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– Food additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphite (95 mg/kg – ppm) in white corn in salt brine from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 6.7; Tot. = 27.5 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Portugal.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.3; Tot. = 26 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted pistachios from Turkey;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 20; Tot. = 25.1 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran and from Turkey (B1 = 545; Tot. = 559 / B1 = 251; Tot. = 308 µg/kg – ppb);
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 28.1; Tot. = 31.6 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts blanched from China;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.3; Tot. = 5.28 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts from China;
  • carbendazim (0.87 mg/kg – ppm), metalaxyl (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) and azoxystrobin (0.59 mg/kg – ppm) in various exotic fruits from Vietnam;
  • chlorpyrifos (0.44 mg/kg – ppm), cypermethrin (1.68 mg/kg – ppm), acetamiprid (0.25; 1.05 mg/kg – ppm), imidacloprid (0.38 mg/kg – ppm) and cyhalothrin (0.09 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance dinotefuran (0.32 mg/kg – ppm) in jasmine, oolong and high mountain green tea from Taiwan;
  • FCM: corrosion of cake pan from China;
  • cyhalothrin (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.07 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria;
  • cypermethrin (3.6 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh mint from Morocco;
  • formetanate (1.311 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey;
  • FCM: migration of formaldehyde (20.7; 24.1 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine tableware from China;
  • FCM: migration of nickel (0.43 mg/kg – ppm) from steel grating from Turkey;
  • profenofos (0.02 mg/kg – ppm) and dimethoate (0.049 mg/kg – ppm) in mangetout peas from Kenya;
  • pyridaben (0.14 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance chlorfenapyr (0.16 mg/kg – ppm) in chinese broccoli (Brassica oleracea) from China, via Hong Kong;
  • Salmonella anatum (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India;
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds and sesame seeds from India;
  • Salmonella spp. in frozen chicken breast fillets and frozen skinless spiced turkey from Brazil;
  • triazophos (0.99 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance profenofos (7.5 mg/kg – ppm) in curry leaves from India;
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria;
  • unauthorised substance monocrotophos (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) and permethrin (0.2 mg/kg – ppm) in okra from India;
  • unsuitable organoleptic characteristics (black colour and bad smell) of tuna chunks in brine from the Seychelles with defective packaging and infested with insects.
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