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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.)

9783319140131

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

Glasscherben

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.

Mozambique: food safety issue or tribal vengeance? (Update 17.01.2015)

crocodile-bile-during-the-funeral

Probably what will be the most scaring and bizarre food safety issue of the year is coming from Mozambique, where few days ago at least 69 people died (and 196 were hospitalized) after drinking the traditional pombe beer during a funeral.

The Government declared three days of national mourning.

The beer was probably contaminated by crocodile’s bile and most of the people which consume the beverage in the morning stay healthy, while the ones which consume the beer in the afternoon fell ill: probably an intentional contamination happened when the mourners were at the cemetery, but the cause are still unknown.

It was the funeral of a newborn baby and also the child’s mother died.

Samples of blood and beer have been sent to the main hospital in the capital, Maputo, to be tested and to identify the poisonous substance: the situation is expected to worsen because the region did not have the necessary resources to deal with the scale of the poisoning.

Crocodile bile effects are quite controversial and it is quite impossible to find reliable scientific sources: for the East African tradition is a powerful venom, but it seems also that it could be “activated” only if mixed with some not better specified roots. The fact is that African crocodile hunters, especially on the shores of Lake Victoria, usually cut the liver of the beasts and burn it or throw into the water to avoid any risk.

Pombe beer is a traditional Mozambican beer, made from millet or corn flour and brewed for about two days. It is often served during ceremonies, and is sold in rural areas of the country. We can find a description of this beverage in the words of the British explorer Richard Francis Burton, that in late 1850′ traveled from Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika and back, and then wrote “The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration”:

“In East Africa every man is his own maltster; and the “iwánzá” or public house of the village , is the common brewery. In some tribes, however, fermentation is the essential occupation of the women. The principal inebriant is a beer without hops, called pombe. This [beer] of the negro and negroid races dates from the age of Osiris: it is the buzah of Egypt and the farther East, and the merissa of the Upper Nile, the… xythum of the West, and the oala or boyaloa of the Kafirs and the South African races. The taste is somewhat like soured wort of the smallest description, but strangers, who at first dislike it exceedingly, are soon reconciled to it by the pleasurable sensations to which it gives rise. … When made thick with the grounds or sediment of grain it is exceedingly nutritious. Many a gallon must be drunk by the veteran malt-worm before intoxication; and individuals of both sexes sometimes live almost entirely upon pombe. It is usually made as follows: half of the grain–holcus, panicum, or both mixed–intended for the brew is buried or soaked in water till it sprouts; it is then pounded and mixed with the other half, also reduced to flour, and sometimes with a little honey. The compound is boiled twice or thrice in huge pots, strained, when wanted clear, through a bag of matting, and allowed to ferment: after the third day it becomes as sour as vinegar. … As these liquors consume a quantity of grain they are expensive; the large gourdful never fetches less than two khete or strings of beads, and strangers must often pay ten khete for the luxury.

The use of pombe is general throughout the country: the other inebriants are local. At the island and on the coast of Zanzibar, tembo, or toddy, in the West African dialects tombo, is drawn from the cocoa-tree; and in places a pernicious alcohol, called mvinyo, is extracted from it. The Wajiji and other races upon the Tanganyika Lake tap the Guinea-palm for a toddy, which, drawn grawn in unclean pots, soon becomes acid and acrid… “Máwá,” or plantain-wine, is highly prized because it readily intoxicates. The fruit, when ripe, is peeled and hand-kneaded with coarse green grass, in a wide-mouthed earthen pot, till all the juice is extracted: the sweet must is then strained through acornet of plantain-leaf into a clean gourd, which is but partially stopped. To hasten fermentation a handful of toasted or pounded grain is added: after standing for two days in a warm room the wine is ready for drinking.”

17.01.2015 Update

The count of deaths is now 73.

Norman Z. Nyazema, Ph.D., now a professor of pharmacology at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, told Forbes.com that he more likely suspects a common agricultural pesticide (organophosphate) as the agent that has killed the people in the villages of Chitima and Songo. He is one of the few scientist which studied “crocodile bile” effects, back in 1984-1985.

The venomous power of crocodile bile is not scientifically proven and mostly linked to local folklore. With the word “crocodile bile”, both the East African magic tradition and the Chinese one, seem to indicate a venomous mix of herbs and not the anatomic part of the crocodile.

In any case, the cause of the deaths is still unknown and we are waiting for the results of the analysis from the official lab in Mozambique.

 

FVO report – Germany – Food Hygiene for primary production of FNAO and sprouting seeds

Lentil Sprouts

In this report published last December the EU Commission Food and Veterinary office reported some significant weaknesses in the official controls system for food of non animal origin and seeds for sprouting in Germany. The inspection was carried out in November 2013, so it is quite old: I expected better answers to the E.Coli crisis in 2011) from the German competent authorities.

The report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in Germany, carried out from 12 to 22 November 2013 under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004.

The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the system of official controls in the area of food hygiene for primary production of Food of Non-Animal Origin (FNAO) and the system of official controls in the area of traceability and import of seeds intended for sprouting and sprouts, microbiological criteria for them and the approval of sprouting establishments.

It was concluded that there are CAs designated for the official controls on hygiene in primary production of FNAO. The existing legal framework for the risk categorisation of FBOs does not take into account all the establishments which produce food of plant origin. This means that the official control system for primary production of FNAO does not fully take into account all risk sources and covers only post-harvest activities in a limited number of establishments. These controls do not cover the observance of hygiene requirements listed in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004. This means that the potential risks arising from microbiological contamination are not systematically taken into account in the planning of controls.

New EU legislation on seeds for sprouting and sprout producing establishments has not been adequately implemented with regard to the preliminary testing of batches of seeds before their release for processing as required by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005.

(Source: DG Sanco website)

FDA Warning Letter – “Healthy” products

Healthy
This is an interesting example of warning letter issued by the FDA. It gives not only some indications about the use of the term “healthy”, but examines also other profiles of non compliance about allergens (“Contains…”).
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the label for your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product in July 2014. Based on our review, we have concluded that this product is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) (21 U.S.C. § 343) and regulations found in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 101 (21 CFR 101). You can find the Act and FDA regulations through links on FDA’s home page athttp://www.fda.gov.
 
Your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(1)(A)] because the product label bears a nutrient content claim, but the product does not meet the requirements to make such a claim.
 
Under section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act, a claim that characterizes the level of a nutrient which is of the type required to be in the labeling of the food must be made in accordance with a regulation authorizing the use of such a claim. Characterizing the level of a nutrient in the labeling of a food product without complying with the specific requirements pertaining to nutrient content claims for that nutrient misbrands the product under section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act.
 
Specifically, the label of your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product bears an implied nutrient content claim, because it bears statements suggesting that the product may be useful in maintaining healthy dietary practices and those statements are made in connection with claims or statements about nutrients. Specifically, the label of your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product bears the claim “deliciously sweet and healthy diced plums…” in connection with the statements “Indulge in the Ultimate Antioxidant treat…” and “Dried Plum Whole Fruit Antioxidants + Decadent Dark Chocolate Goodness = The Ultimate Antioxidant Snack.” In the context of this label, FDA considers the claim “deliciously sweet and healthy diced plums…” to be an implied claim about the food itself. However, this product does not meet the requirements for use of the nutrient content claim “healthy” that are set forth in 21 CFR 101.65(d)(2).
 
In accordance with 21 CFR 101.65(d)(2), you may use the term “healthy” as an implied nutrient content claim on the label or in the labeling of a food provided that the food, among other things, is “low saturated fat” as defined in 21 CFR 101.62(c)(2) (i.e., the food has a saturated fat content of 1 g or less per Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) and no more than 15 percent of the calories are from saturated fat).
 
According to the Nutrition Facts panel, your product contains 5 g of saturated fat per 40 g serving of the food. This amount exceeds the maximum of 1 g of saturated fat per RACC for the food and the maximum of 15% of calories from saturated fat in the “low saturated fat” definition. Accordingly, your product does not meet the requirements for use of the nutrient content claim “healthy” on a food label [21 CFR 101.65(d)(2)]. Your product is thus misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act.
 
The above violations are not meant to be an all-inclusive list of violations that may exist in connection with your products or their labeling. It is your responsibility to ensure that your products comply with the Act and its implementing regulations. You should take prompt action to correct the violations. Failure to promptly correct the violations may result in regulatory action without further notice, including seizure and/or injunction. 
 
In addition, in accordance with section 403(w) of the Act, when a food manufacturer opts to use the word “Contains” followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, this information must be placed immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients. The “Contains” statement on your product label is placed at the bottom of the information panel after various printed information such as how to store the product and other non-mandatory labeling information.
 
Please respond to this letter within 15 working days from receipt with the actions you plan to take in response to this letter, including an explanation of each step being taken to correct the current violations and prevent similar violations. Include any documentation necessary to show that correction has been achieved. If you cannot complete corrective action within 15 working days, state the reason for the delay and the time within which you will complete the correction”.
(Source: FDA Website)

Food recalls in EU – Week 1/2015

Glasscherben

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:

- None

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

- None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in organic nut malt from Italy, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria and Czech Republic.

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) in frozen chicken legs from Poland, following company’s own check. Notified by France.

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

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

- FCM: migration of nickel (1.1 mg/kg – ppm) from steel pliers for toaster from China;

profenofos (0.560 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh strawberries from Egypt;

Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulles sesame seeds from India.

Mislabeling – Tonic Water – Recall in Australia (undeclared quinine)

the-beauty-of-water-wallpaper_1024x768-4

An interesting recall in Australia, since also in EU is mandatory declare on the label the presence of quinine as flavou​ring in such beverages. For more information about this recall click here.

Quinine is a natural white crystalline alkaloid having antipyretic, antimalarial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties and a bitter taste. Quinine occurs naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree, though it has also been synthesized in the laboratory. The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua, who are indigenous to Peru and Bolivia; later, the Jesuits were the first to bring cinchona to Europe. Today is used as flavour component of tonic water and bitter lemon. Allergic reactions to quinine can be severe and can affect multiple organs.

Schweppes Australia P/L has recalled Schweppes Indian Tonic Water from Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other independent retail stores in ACT, NSW and QLD due to non compliant labelling (some individual bottles of tonic water are incorrectly labelled as ‘Soda water’ and therefore the quinine declaration is missing). Consumers who are sensitive to quinine may have a reaction if they consume this product. Consumers sensitive to quinine should not consume this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Notified: 30/12/2014

Package description and size: 4 glass bottles contained within a printed cardboard sleeve -300ml x 4 pack

BEST BEFORE 21 OCT 15 and 22 OCT 15 – Factory code 3212

Country of origin: Australia

Contact

Schweppes Australia P/L – 1800 761 470, www.schweppesaustralia.com.au

(Source: FSANZ website)

10 most read articles in 2014

countdown-9

Dear readers,

This year Foodlawlatest.com doubled his visitors, and we have now more than 10.000 visits each month from more than 160 countries. It’s an amazing result and I have to thank you all my readers for this.

Here’s a recap of the 10 most read articles in 2014:

1. EU maintains ban on betel leaves from Bangladesh: a fabulous guest article written by my dearest friend Francesco Montanari, Food Law consultant in Lisbon, on import/export issues in EU, in particular regarding the ban of betel leaves import from Bangladesh.

2. EU – Breaking news on allergens labelling: in the first days of December DG Sanco opened a public consultation on Guidelines relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.

3. Hepatitis A in frozen berries: the “silent outbreak” – My article on Meyerlegal newlsetter: on 8th September 2014, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the final results of its study on the epidemic of hepatitis A (HAV) that, last year, hit Italy and, to a lesser extent, several other European countries and that is thought to have been caused by some mix of frozen berries of Eastern-European origin. The article tries to highlight the reasons why this very outbreak should be considered an important stress test for the European food safety system as a whole nad why this event was so underestimated.

4. FSA UK – Organic Tofu recall due to a potential risk of botulism: a serious public health matter in April 2014.

5. EU Food Law Handbooka review of one of the most interesting and comprehensive book of the year on this topic. The book is edited by Prof. Bernd Van der Muelen and see the participation of really good friends and gifted professionals like Martin Holle (Nutrition policy in the European Union), Cecilia Kuhn and Francesco Montanari (Importing food into the EU), Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska and many others.

6. Study Demonstrates Superior Bioavailability of Curcumin Micelle: an interesting study for who is interested in the nutraceutical sector.

7. DG-SANCO published translated Q&A on Reg. UE 1169/2011: in May DG Sanco published the first and for now unique document of Q&A on the FIC Regulation in all the official languages of the Union.

8. Allergens Labelling (FIC Regulation n. 1169/2011) on Foodservice Consultant: a July article, published on this HORECA review about the upcoming allergens labelling in EU.

9. USA – FDA Egg Safety Rule: in November the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a regulation expected to prevent each year approximately 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis.

10. Written Q&A to EU Commission – Joint answer on trans fatty acids: in this answer to four written questions by MEPs (click the highlighted numbers to open them), Mr. Borg analyses the state of the art in EU about trans fatty acids. In US the issue is at the top of the FDA agenda. FDA this year has made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major dietary source of trans fat in the processed food supply, are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS.

Thank you all our readers. Keep reading and sharing and happy new year!

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Food recalls in EU – Week 52/2014

gorgo

Our weekly report on EU food alert is coming back, with a more concise and immediate format.

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: Listeria Monocytogenes (4900 CFU/g) in organic gorgonzola from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria.

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

Allergens: undeclared gluten (>50 mg/kg – ppm) in dried egg noodles from Vietnam, following a food poisoning. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

- Industrial contaminants: dioxin-like polychlorobifenyls (4.19 pg WHO TEQ/g) in cheese from Romania, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy.

4. Seizures:

In Italy seizures of skinless smoothhound shark (Mustelus mustelus) and frozen swordfish from Portugal, due to presence of mercury, and in Belgium seizure of cardboard box containing rice (FCM) from India, due to migration of benzophenone.

5. Border rejections:

- chlorantraniliprole (0.072 mg/kg – ppm) in peas from Kenya

- carbendazim (1.2 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruit from Vietnam

- too high count of Escherichia coli (330 MPN/100g) in live clams (Ruditapes decussatus) from Tunisia

- aflatoxins (several notifications) in pistachios from Iran

- methomyl (0.18 mg/kg – ppm) in strawberry from Egypt

- FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (0.72; 0.65; 0.56 mg/kg – ppm) from nylon tongs from China

- iprovalicarb (0.066 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.039 mg/kg – ppm) in chilli peppers from Thailand

- aflatoxins (B1 = 185 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels and groundnut kernels for birdfeed (FEED) from the Gambia

- FCM: migration of nickel (0.7 mg/kg – ppm) from steel parts of toaster from China

FVO audit in China – Good news about mung beans and sprouting seed exported to EU

Lentil Sprouts

Not everything is coming from China is definitely bad. Following an audit in 2013 (DG(SANCO)/2013-6680), which revealed several profiles of non-compliance with the EU rules, the Chinese Competent Authorities put in place a really effective system to chekk exporting seeds for sprouting and direct human consumption. 

This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in China from 15 September to 22 September 2014.

The first objective of the audit was to assess the official control systems in place for seeds for human consumption (in particular, mung beans and other seeds for sprouting and direct human consumption) for export to the EU in order to prevent microbiological contamination (Articles 11 and 14 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002) and to assess whether these systems offer adequate assurance that the produce concerned is within the limits laid down in EU legislation.

The second objective was to follow-up the previous audit DG (SANCO)/2013-6680. The audit focused on controls at primary production level. The objectives of the audit were met. Significant progress was made by the Chinese Competent Authorities (CAs) since the last audit in 2013 and all six recommendations made in the report of that audit were fully addressed. The CAs have implemented the requirements of the EU legislation on hygiene for exports of mung beans for sprouting. A new control system has been devised explicitly for seeds for sprouting for export to the EU. This is based on registration and approval of farms by regional CAs and the introduction of specific official controls of farms and processors/exporters. The processing facilities visited by the audit team followed Good Hygiene Practices. The laboratory visited was accredited and suitable for the purpose of official microbiological analysis including Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli(STEC).

At the time of the audit there were no export certificates being issued by the CAs of China for seeds for sprouting to be exported to the EU. However, the system of official food safety controls currently in place can assure that the mung beans for sprouting were produced under conditions which comply with the general hygiene provisions for primary production and associated operations set out in Part A of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 as required by Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 211/2013. The system in place enables the CAs of China to issue the required
export certificates. This applies already for the 2014 harvest.

UK – Pork Sausage recalled due to metal pieces presence

roaming-roosters-pork-sausage

Lazenbys Gourmet Sausage has recalled as precautionary measure packs of ‘The Black Farmer’ Premium Pork Sausage with a ‘use-by’ date of 26 December 2014 because of contamination with small pieces of metal. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

The recalled product is:

  • ‘The Black Farmer’ Premium Pork Sausage
  • ‘use-by’ date: 26 December 2014
  • size: 400g

Lazenbys Gourmet Sausage has recalled the above product. Product recall notices are to be displayed in stores. These notices explain to customers why the product is recalled, and advises them of how get a refund if they have purchased the product.

No other ‘The Black Farmer’ products are known to be affected.

If you have bought the above product, do not consume it. Instead, return the product to the store from where you bought it or return the pack and/or label with the implicated ‘use-by’ date to the following postal address for a full refund, including postage:

Lazenbys Gourmet Sausage
Helsinki Road
Sutton Fields Industrial Estate
Hull
East Yorkshire HU7 0YW

(Source: FSA website)

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