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Food recalls in EU – Week 17/2015

Caramelle Toffee

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:

– FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (aniline: 0.07; 0.01; 0.02 mg/kg – ppm) from colander with strainer from Turkey, via Greece, following an official control on the market. Notified by Cyprus.

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

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient in toffees selection from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Pesticide residues: unauthorised substance chlorfenapyr (0.03; 0.047; 0.062 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet pepper from Hungary, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Hungary.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

Allergens: undeclared soya (4.96 mg/kg – ppm) in pate with goose meat from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia;

– Biotoxins: yessotoxin (YTX) (5.30 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled mussels from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to France;

– Biotoxins: yessotoxin (YTX) (5.625 mg/kg – ppm) in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria an Czech Republic;

– Composition: unauthorised substance sildenafil thiono analogue (dithiodesmethylcarbodenafil, desmethylcarbodenafil and carbodenafil) in food supplement from Latvia, via Portugal, following an official control on the market. Notified by France;

– Heavy metals: mercury (2.4 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish fillets from Vietnam, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and United Kingdom;

– Industrial contaminants: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzo(a)pyrene: 902.5; sum PAH: 3189 µg/kg – ppb) in organic chlorella from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic and United Kingdom;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 51.3 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (presence /25g) in frozen and chilled turkey cutting parts from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Spain.

4. Seizures:

In Belgium, following official controls on the market, we had seizures for:

– high content of lead (43.8 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from India;

– mercury (1.37 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from India, via the Netherlands;

– mercury (0.14 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from Germany.

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 13.4; Tot. = 13.9 µg/kg – ppb) in chilli powder from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 27.7; Tot. = 31.8 µg/kg – ppb) in unshelled groundnuts, in peanut butter (B1 = 5.0; Tot. = 14.3 / B1 = 4.2; Tot. = 12.9 / B1 = 2.2; Tot. = 8.7 µg/kg – ppb) and in peanuts (B1 = 3.2 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 28; Tot. = 29 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell and in pistachio kernels (B1 = 90; Tot. = 100) from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 32.2 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • biphenyl (3.33 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.26 mg/kg – ppm) in black olives in brine from Egypt
  • corrosion of canned bamboo shoots from China with defective packaging
  • dead insects (30.6 %) in organic dried figs from Turkey
  • imazalil (0.140 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey
  • malathion (0.109 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • FCM: migration of chromium (>0.1 mg/l), of nickel (>0.1 mg/l) and of manganese (>0.1 mg/l) from steel knives from Vietnam
  • FCM: migration of manganese (0.4 mg/kg – ppm) and too high level of overall migration (34 mg/kg – ppm) from stainless steel thermos from China
  • FCM: migration of nickel (0.2; 0.3 mg/kg – ppm) from airwave ovens grids from China
  • FCM: too high level of overall migration (158 mg/dm²) from plastic pallet from China
  • missing import declaration for mint from Vietnam
  • poor temperature control ( -6.5, -9.2, -9.2 & -11 °C) of frozen cape hake (Merluccius capensis) and deepwater hake (Merluccius paradoxus) from Namibia
  • residue level above MRL for albendazole (245 µg/kg – ppb) in corned beef from Brazil
  • FEED: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in fish meal from Mauritania
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen meat preparations from Brazil and Thailand
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen poultry meat preparation from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen salted chicken breast from Thailand
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • sweetener E 950 – acesulfame k unauthorised in fruit juice from Georgia
  • too high content of sulphite (2569 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • triazophos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in basmati rice from India
  • unauthorised genetically modified (CRY1Ab/Ac; T-nos) rice spaghetti and rice vermicelli from China
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.24 mg/kg – ppm) in rice from India
  • unauthorised substance permethrin (0.13 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruit (Pitaya) from Vietnam

Summer Academy In Global Food Law and Policy – Final program and discussion panel on food frauds

Summer Academy

The Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy is an established one-week summer programme that brings together practitioners, policymakers, industry representatives and leading academics working in the field of food law and policy. It offers intensive training on the most innovative developments in global food regulation and provides a unique opportunity for professional development and networking in an informal and inter-disciplinary setting. By talking, studying and interacting with food experts from all over the world, participants are able to gain new perspectives into both their own sectors and international regulatory issues. This is achieved by combining traditional classroom instruction with experiential learning opportunities offered by dedicated and distinguished international experts.

The Academy will take place from Monday, 20th July, to Friday, 24th July, 2015 in Bilbao, Spain.

Among the many topics covered this year stand out food frauds, the obesity challenge, the TTIP under discussion between Europe and the USA and the marketing restrictions to “unhealthy foods”.

As leading expert in the field of fraud prevention along the supply chain, I was named as a speaker for a presentation entitled “Rethinking How to Regulate Food Frauds” and to chair a panel discussion with Prof. Neal Fortin, Director of the ‘”Institute for Food Law and Regulations” at Michigan State University, and Gilles Boin, food lawyer at the renowned French law firm “Product Law Firm”, which will give a more extensive presentation on food fraud legislative framework.

Amongst the other speakers:

Alberto Alemanno: Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris and Scholar at the O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University.

Wenche Barth Eide: Emeritus Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo.

Enrico Bonadio: Senior Lecturer in Law, City University London (City Law School).

Asbjørn Eide: Emeritus professor and senior fellow at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo.

Hilal Elver: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

Richard A. Falk: Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus at Princeton University.

Simone Gabbi: Legal Department European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Amandine Garde: Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool.

Giovanni Gruni: Oxford University

Pelle Guldborg Hansen: Director of ISSP The Initiative of Science, (Society & Policy at Roskilde University and University of Southern Denmark); member of the Prevention Council of the Danish Diabetes Association and Chairman of the Danish Nudging Network.

Francesco Tramontin: Director External Affairs, “Mondelez” Europe.

Paolo R. Vergano: Partner at “Fratini Vergano”, Brussels.

For more information visit the website or download the full program at the following link.

Conferences in Paraguay

ASUNCION_PANTEON_NACIONAL_DE_LOS_HÉROES

From 5th to 9th May 2015 I will be in the sunny Asuncion, Paraguay, for a series of conferences about food regulations.

On 5th I will be at the National University, Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, to present the new EU Regulation on food information to consumer (No 1169/2011), with specific attention for allergens and nutrition declaration. Download the brochure here.

On 7th I will be very pleased to open the II Expo Alimentaria and the first Food Law Conference at the Hotel Excelsior. Paraguay is on the way to review its regulatory framework and to implement a Food Code inspired by EU and US standards: the objective is to ease the export of the national products. My speech will touch some general aspects about the EU and US food regulations, in light of the fact that with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) the two systems are converging on some specific principles, on food allergens labelling and some hints about how the food recalls are managed. You can find the complete program here.

I was invited by ASPATAL (Paraguayan Association of Food Technologists), and I have to deeply thank you Prof. Griselda Miranda Pena for inviting me.

See you there!

 

 

The next food fraud? Worse than the ”Horsegate”

Cumin

If the explosion of the infamous “Horsemeat Scandal” was greeted at first with disbelief and barely concealed laughter from the public and media, the following concern for a public health risk revealed itself in a short time as completely not founded. None of these two reactions seem to be triggered by what could be the next food fraud scandal on a global scale.

The affected product, in this case, are spices (especially cumin, paprika and various mix) which, at a level not yet identified of the supply chain, have been adulterated with crushed almond shells, with the clear aim  of financial gain. The real risk – and what distinguishes this case from ”Horsegate” – is that such conduct poses a serious risk to the health of allergic consumers. Almond nuts

The tree nuts category, indeed, is one of the allergens that more easily could cause violent anaphylactic shock; the risk is more than real, since the analytical detection of almond’s traces (probably remained caked on the shells) was the cause of dozens of recalls and withdrawals from the market started in UK, US, Canada and several other European countries.

Although the intent of the contamination has not yet been demonstrated, it is clear that such a wide spread of withdrawals and recalls worldwide, as well as the involvement in the issue of many different brands on the market (even global retailers such as Morrisons and Sainsbury’s) and the different types product, clearly suggest a deliberate fraud.

Spices have quite high prices, which allow good profit margins through this kind of adulteration: in addition, not always the systems of internal traceability of the small and medium-size companies are adequate to the high complexity required by management of these raw materials and their mix. Finally, as highlighted by Prof. Chris Elliot in some recent interviews, the last season saw in Gujarat (India) a cumin harvest absolutely disastrous because of the weather, and this caused a spike in prices.

Although a British company, Bart Ingredients, has challenged the analytical methods used by the British “Food Standards Agency” (FSA), advancing the hypothesis of “false positives” attributed to another ingredient (the “Mahaleb”, extracted from a variety of cherry tree), the chances that this is proved true for all cases found seems utterly unrealistic.

UK, was the European country most affected by the phenomenon. Here the cumin’s consumption as a flavor enhancer in soups and processed products, and also in combination with other spices such as paprika, chili and curry, is very high. The extent of the contamination, however, is not yet fully established. At the moment there have been no reports of deaths or hospitalizations due to the issue, but unfortunately could only be a matter of time. The spices are used in many processed and prepacked foods and it will be very difficult to detect all the products contaminated and to remove them all from the shelves (e.g. the first recalls involved kit for fajitas in British supermarket).

This will be the first “stress test” for the newborn FSA “Food Crime United” and the UK food safety system as a whole, after its reorganization following the “Elliot Review”. Important signals, however, should also be sent by the European Commission, now engaged with the revision of Reg. (EC) n. 882/2004 and with the implementation of appropriate measures to fight frauds.

Food recalls in EU – Week 16/2015

explode

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:

– Packaging defective: breakage of glass wine bottle Ottoventi Punto from Italy, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to France and Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (1800 CFU/g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Germany and Hong Kong.

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

– Improper storage (infested with rats) of confectionery products from Denmark, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Germany;

– Biocontaminants: histamine (1648 mg/kg – ppm) in canned tuna from Ecuador, following an official control on the market. Notified by France.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient (> 20000 mg/kg – ppm) in toast with vegetable fats from Greece, following an official control on the market. Notified by Cyprus;

– Allergens: traces of fish (tuna) in chicken meat meal from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Netherlands;

– Allergens: undeclared hazelnut (36.6; 34.2 mg/kg – ppm) in chocolate spread from Belgium, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to France;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in sundried tomatoes with balsamico vinegar in glass jar from Italy, following company’s own check . Notified by Sweden;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) in frozen deboned chicken thigh fillets from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Slovakia.

4. Seizures:

In Bulgaria we had a seizure of fish meal (feed), declared from Latvia, for unclear origin. Distributed also to Czech Republic.

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of certified analytical report for groundnuts from Ghana
  • acetamiprid (0.08 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from Hong Kong and from Serbia (0.5 mg/kg – ppm), with raw material from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 126; Tot. = 145 / B1 = 38.1; Tot. = 43.4 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios and pistachios in shell (B1 = 76.2; Tot. = 83.4 µg/kg – ppb) from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 16.4; Tot. = 18.4 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled pistachios from Afghanistan, via Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 18.9; Tot. = 22.3 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted pistachios from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 3.7; Tot. = 4.5 / B1 = 3.0; Tot. = 3.6 µg/kg – ppb) in crunchy coconut peanuts from Thailand
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 72.4; Tot. = 77.2 µg/kg – ppb) in unshelled groundnuts and groundnuts (B1 = 9.8; Tot. = 11 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 8.1; Tot. = 9.4 µg/kg – ppb) in agushie powder and seeds from Ghana
  • cadmium (1.30 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen European squid (Loligo vulgaris) from Iran and in frozen jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) (1.6 mg/kg – ppm) from China
  • histamine (734.9 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen anchovies (Engraulis anchoita) from Argentina
  • malathion (0.16 mg/kg – ppm) in beans from Madagascar
  • FCM: metal flask from China unfit for use as food contact material (XRD confirmed AISI 201)
  • FCM: migration of bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DOTP) (410 mg/kg – ppm) from lids on glass jars of garlic in oil from China
  • FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (0.0616 mg/kg – ppm) from kitchenware from China
  • organic dried apricots from Uzbekistan, via Turkey contaminated with faeces (10.8 %)
  • poor temperature control – rupture of the cold chain – of frozen deep-water rose shrimps (Parapenaeus longirostris) from Algeria
  • poor temperature control (-1°C to -17.1°C) of frozen headless and gutted Nile perch (Lates niloticus) from Kenya
  • poor temperature control (7.9 <–> 12 °C) of chilled ostrich fillets from South Africa
  • prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furaltadone (AMOZ) (2 µg/kg – ppb) in salted hog casings from Egypt
  • Salmonella Senftenberg (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India, via Moldova
  • Salmonella spp. (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in hulled sesame seeds and sesame seeds (presence/25g) from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen turkey meat preparations, frozen chicken meat preparations (Gallus gallus), frozen poultry meat preparation and frozen spiced turkey medallions from Brazil
  • unauthorised irradiation (Glow Curve = 1867301) of herb extract (Orthosiphon stamineus) from China
  • unauthorised substance flupyradifuron (0.031 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers (Capsicum) from the Dominican Republic
  • unauthorised substance monocrotophos (0.038 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from Turkey
  • unauthorised substances trichlorphon (0.097 mg/kg – ppm) and dichlorvos (0.26 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria

Food recalls in EU – Week 15/2015

pesce-palla-02

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: traces of almond in blackened salmon portions from the United Kingdom, with raw material from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Biotoxins: puffer fish (Tetraodontidae) in monkfish fillets from Senegal, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in spelt flour from Belgium, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Netherlands.

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

None.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Composition: too high content of vitamin D (125 µg/capsule) in vitamin D3 & K2 from the United States, following an official control on the market. Notified by Sweden, distributed also to Norway;

– Fraud: expiry dates changed of fish product from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and United States;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (presence /25g) in 12 different types of vegetable mixes from Sweden, following company’s own check. Notified by Sweden, distributed also to Denmark and Finland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak (Clostridium botulinum) caused by zucchini and tomatoes in vegetable oil from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Austria, distributed also to Hungary, Slovenia and Switzerland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: too high count of Escherichia coli (330 MPN/100g) in mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (presence /25g) in frozen raw turkey cutlets from France. Notified from France, distributed also to Germany and Switzerland.

4. Seizures:

None.

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 102.1; Tot. = 120.7 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts and in organic blanched peanuts (B1 = 3.88; Tot. = 4.28 / B1 = 7.0; Tot. = 8.72 µg/kg – ppb) from Egypt
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 11 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 16.5; Tot. = 17.4 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 170; Tot. = 185 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios processed in Turkey, with raw material from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 27; Tot. = 54 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut kernels, in peanuts (B1 = 7.5; Tot. = 9.9 µg/kg – ppb), in blanched peanuts (B1 = 4.4; Tot. = 13 / B1 = 3.4; Tot. = 4.1 µg/kg – ppb) and in blanched groundnut kernels (B1 = 4.8 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.8 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Brazil
  • attempt to illegally import dried beans from Nigeria
  • formetanate (0.749 mg/kg – ppm) in gherkin from Turkey
  • FCM: migration of melamine (5.06 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine set (plate, spoon and fork) from Hong Kong
  • omethoate and dimethoate (sum= 0.059 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances trichlorphon (0.28 mg/kg – ppm) and dichlorvos (0.26 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • poor temperature control (-8; -12; -11 °C) of frozen tuna (Thunnus albacares) from Nicaragua and of frozen jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) (-9.8; -11.3; -11.4; -13.1; -10.9; -8.1 °C) from Peru
  • prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furaltadone (AMOZ) (1.9 µg/kg – ppb) in pork casings from Egypt
  • Salmonella enteritidis (2 out of 5 samples /25g) in frozen salted chicken fillets from Thailand
  • Salmonella Montevideo (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen salted chicken breast fillets from Brazil
  • too high content of sulphite (184 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei) from Ecuador
  • too high content of sulphite (2516 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • unauthorised irradiation (curcuma longa extract: glow ratio 1,2 grape seed extract: glow ratio 0,88) of fruit extracts from China
  • unauthorised substance monocrotophos (0.038 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh sweet peppers from Turkey

FDA Warning Letter – Misbranding – Whole grain benefits and not authorised claims

o-WHOLE-GRAINS-facebook
Here’s the FDA position about not authorised digestive claims in USA:
FDA WARNING LETTER – MAR 10, 2015
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) reviewed the label for your Post Great Grains Digestive Blend (vanilla graham) product in September 2014. Based on our review, we have concluded that your Post Great Grains Digestive Blend (vanilla graham) product is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [Title 21, United States Code (U.S.C.), sections 301 et seq.] and the applicable regulations found in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 101 (21 CFR Part 101). You can find the Act and FDA regulations through links on FDA’s home page at http://www.fda.gov.
Your Post Great Grains Digestive Blend (vanilla graham) product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(1)(B)] in that the labeling bears health claims that were not authorized by FDA.
Your product label bears claims that characterize the relationship of a nutrient to a disease or health-related condition. Specifically, your product label bears the following claims: “By consuming at least 48 g of whole grains per day you can support healthy digestion and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. New Great Grains Digestive Blend cereal has 41 g of whole grain which is more than 85% of the daily recommended amount!”
A health claim expressly or by implication characterizes the relationship between a substance and a disease or health-related condition [21 CFR 101.14(a)(1)]. Substance means a specific food or component of food [21 CFR 101.14(a)(2)]. The whole grains that are a component of your product are substances within the meaning of 21 CFR 101.14(a)(2), and your label characterizes the relationship of these substances to diseases or health-related conditions (i.e., heart disease and diabetes). Because the product label bears health claims that were not authorized by FDA either by regulation [see section 403(r)(3)(A)-(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(3)(A)(B)]] or under authority of the health claim notification provision of the Act [see section 403(r)(3)(C) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(3)(G)]], the product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(B) of the Act.
FDA has authorized health claims linking the consumption of whole grain foods to reduced risk of heart disease through the notification procedure in section 403(r)(3)(C) of the Act. Of those authorized claims, the ones closest to the claims on your product label are as follows:
  • “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”[1]
  • “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”[2]
The claim “By consuming at least 48 g of whole grains per day you can… reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like heart disease…” is not consistent with either of the above-cited claims that are authorized under section 403(r)(3)(C) of the Act. For example, your claim leaves out any reference to other plant foods and to foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
In addition, in a September 11, 2013, letter announcing that FDA would consider the exercise of enforcement discretion[3], FDA articulated two claims for which the agency intends to consider the exercise of enforcement discretion, each of which references the “very limited scientific evidence” linking the consumption of whole grains with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Those claims are as follows:
  • “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, although the FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”
  • “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”
The claim “By consuming at least 48 g of whole grains per day you can… reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like…diabetes…” is not consistent with either of the above-cited claims for which FDA announced it would consider the exercise of enforcement discretion.   For example, your claim leaves out any reference to the very limited scientific evidence linking the consumption of whole grains with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
For all of the above-noted reasons, your product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(B) of the Act.
If you are aware of additional evidence that would support a health claim by regulation or a qualified health claim, we encourage you to submit a petition pursuant to section 403(r)(4) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(4)]; see also FDA’s guidance on qualified health claims, which includes the procedures for submitting qualified health claim petitions.
(Source: FDA website)

Sanofi Korea Launches Anlit Probiotic Supplement for Kids

Sanofi Korea Launches Anlit Probiotic Supplement for Kids

Sanofi launches a new probiotic supplement for kids in South Korea. Released, in Costco stores under the global Cenovis Kids brand, the new supplement with a delicious vanilla flavor and teddy bear shape is produced by Anlit Ltd., Israel, and designed specifically for kids.

”We chose to work with Anlit since they have unique dietary supplement solutions designed for children,” says Joo Yuen Park, Cenovis Kids Brand Manager for Sanofi. “They specialize in making children’s supplements attractive to kids and their parents, helping to improve the child’s health and well-being.”

The global probiotic supplements market has demonstrated an impressive growth curve, with a 13% increase in product launches in 2014 over 2013, as tracked by Innova Market Insights. The leading positioning for global probiotic supplements tracked in 2014 were: digestive/liver health, immune health and for children’s health.

“Making an ideal supplement for kids is a complicated task,” explains Shai Karlinsky, VP of Marketing and Sales at Anlit Ltd., Israel. “As a father, I’m committed to provide a balanced diet for my kids. But not all children follow a healthy diet. Our job is to help them, and their parents, improve their daily nutrition without compromising on flavor.”

According to Anlit nutrition scientists, the secret to developing a high-quality supplement for children is making sure all active ingredients, especially its formulae containing friendly lactic acid bacteria and prebiotics, deliver promised benefits, yet maintain an appealing flavor that is so important for children. Anlit’s “Kidi Bites” technology overcomes challenges of flavor and aroma, providing a tasty and healthy solution for children. The delicious matrix, with a vanilla flavor and smooth texture, greatly appeals to children and provides a shelf-life of two years.

The probiotic Cenovis Kids line is customized for children aged two years and older. It is gluten-free, sugar-free, easily chewable and produced with Anlit’s proprietary microencapsulation technology that overcomes taste and texture challenges. It is marketed in cube-shaped units of 20 supplements per blister-pack. Each cube is individually sealed in a foil blister to ensure prolonged stability. The supplement contains no artificial colors or preservatives and is kosher-

FVO report – Pesticides residues in table grapes from Peru

Table_grapes_on_white

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Peru, carried out between 19 and 27 November 2014. The objective of the audit was to assess controls on pesticide residues in table grapes intended for export to the European Union. In particular, the audit team followed up on action taken by the Competent Authorities in response to recommendations made by the Food and Veterinary Office in report DG(SANCO)/2011-6061.

Weaknesses in the authorisation system mean that use of plant protection products in accordance with the label provides no assurance that the resultant produce will comply with Codex maximum residue levels.

The website of the National Service for Agricultural Health is not fit for purpose in terms of disseminating critical information regarding the safe use of plant protection products. While there is a system of controls on the marketing of plant protection products, products bearing non-approved labels are commonplace.

The programme of controls on growers has no dissuasive measures to penalise non-compliant growers, focusing instead on training. Both the system of private controls by growers and pack-houses and the National Service for Agricultural Health training programme for growers are of limited value in ensuring produce will be compliant with Codex maximum residue levels due to weaknesses in the authorisation system.

The range of analysis under the national residue control programme is not sufficiently broad to ensure that products are used correctly and that Codex maximum residue levels will be respected. The relatively high number of notifications from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed in 2014 stems primarily from product authorisation and labelling issues, rather than bad practices by growers. Neither the public or private systems currently in place to ensure that table grapes from Peru will be in line with European Union maximum residue levels are sufficiently effective.

While there is a systematic follow-up to notifications from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, the outcomes of investigations are not reported to the European Union. Three of the six recommendations from the previous audit, DG(SANCO)/2011-6061, have been satisfactorily addressed, and two recommendations partially addressed. The report makes a number of recommendations to the competent authorities, aimed at rectifying the shortcomings identified and enhancing the implementation of control measures.

Food recalls in EU – Week 14/2015

Chocolate-Bar-cc-search

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: traces of milk in varieties of milk free milk chocolate from the United Kingdom, following a consumer complaint. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Denmark;

– Pesticide residues: methiocarb (2.3 mg/kg – ppm) in curly endive from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany and Luxembourg;

– Biocontaminants: atropine (4.1 <–> 384; µg/kg – ppb) and scopolamine (2.0 <–> 388 µg/kg – ppb) in millet balls from Hungary, following company’s own check. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

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

– FCM. Industrial contaminants: migration of melamine (3.7 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine chopping boards from Turkey, following an official control on the market. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Albania;

-Dried black fungus from Vietnam, via Germany, infested with insectsfollowing a consumer complaint. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared almond (<50 mg/kg – ppm) in paella spice mix from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium;

– Allergens: undeclared egg in cheese from Belgium, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

– Allergens: undeclared soya (12.1 mg/kg – ppm) in Prague ham from the Czech Republic, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia, distributed also to Russia;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 6; Tot. = 6.9 µg/kg – ppb) in halva from Turkey, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Netherlands;

– Biocontaminants: atropine (26 µg/kg – ppb) and scopolamine (11 µg/kg – ppb) in millet honey poppies from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria;

– Biocontaminants: atropine (30 µg/kg – ppb) and scopolamine (24 µg/kg – ppb) in gluten free organic millet from Austria, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria, distributed also to Slovakia;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Clostridium perfringens (5600 CFU/g) in vegan paté from Italy, following company’s own check. Notified by Italy, distributed also to Germany, Greece, Malta, San Marino, Sweden and Switzerland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by frozen yellowfin tuna loins from Spain, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in roquefort blue cheese from raw sheep’s milk from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Belgium, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg and Netherlands;

– Composition: unauthorised substance gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in food supplement from the Netherlands, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Sweden.

4. Seizures:

In Switzerland we had a seizure of frozen marlin steak from Vietnam, due to the presence of heavy metals (mercury – 2.5 mg/kg – ppm)

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.1; Tot. = 11.2 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts in shell, in blanched groundnuts kernels (B1 = 11.1; Tot. = 57 µg/kg – ppb), in groundnut kernels (B1 = 157.9; Tot. = 172 / B1 = 7.8; Tot. = 21.1 µg/kg – ppb), in shelled groundnuts (B1 = 4.6; Tot. = 15.6 µg/kg – ppb) and in groundnuts (B1 = 59.52; Tot. = 64.11 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19; Tot. = 23) in nutmeg from Indonesia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 26.7; Tot. = 28.1 µg/kg – ppb) in chili powder, red chilli (B1 = 91.4; Tot. = 94.5 µg/kg – ppb) and in peanut butter(B1 = 7.3; Tot. = 8.4 / B1 = 3.9; Tot. = 4.6 µg/kg – ppb) from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 350; Tot. = 390 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 9.3; Tot. = 21.3 µg/kg – ppb) in fig paste from Turkey
  • biphenyl (4.76 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos-methyl (0.136 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey
  • dead insects (21.4 %) in organic dried figs from Turkey
  • fenpropathrin (0.29 mg/kg – ppm) in dried raisins from Iran
  • fipronil (0.029 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from the Dominican Republic
  • malathion (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance phorate (0.052 mg/kg – ppm) in pumpkin seeds from China
  • poor state of preservation of and incorrect labelling on pasteurized cherries from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen poultry meat preparation from Brazil and Thailand
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in paan/betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • too high content (2407 mg/kg – ppm) and undeclared (2363 mg/kg – ppm) sulphites in dried apricots from Turkey
  • FCM: too high level of overall migration (13.6 mg/kg – ppm) from glassware from China
  • FCM: migration of chromium (0.3 mg/kg – ppm) from knives from China
  • FCM: migration of chromium (0.6 mg/kg – ppm), of nickel (5.3 mg/kg – ppm) and of manganese (6 mg/kg – ppm) from barbecue grills gaseous fuel from China
  • FCM: migration of manganese (1.9 mg/kg – ppm) from barbecue grids and from gas barbecue (2.4 mg/kg – ppm) from China
  • FCM: corrosion of and too high level of overall migration (1266 mg/kg – ppm) from stainless steel kitchen utensils from China unfit for use as food contact material (stainless steel AISI 201)
  • FCM: absence of certified analytical report for melamine kitchenware from China
  • unauthorised substance anthraquinone (0.049 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from Hong Kong
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (1.2 mg/kg – ppm) in peas from Kenya
  • unauthorised substance hexaconazole (0.021 mg/kg – ppm) in green beans from Kenya
  • unauthorised substance profenofos (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in okra from India

 

QeA to EU Commission – Minimum dimensions for clams and protection of the fishing industry

linguine-with-clams-3

Question for written answer to the Commission
Matteo Salvini (NI) , Mara Bizzotto (NI) , Mario Borghezio (NI) , Gianluca Buonanno (NI) , Lorenzo Fontana (NI)

Subject: minimum dimensions for clams and protection of the fishing industry

Under the terms of Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, the fishing and sale of marine organisms smaller than the sizes specified in said regulation and its appendices are prohibited.

In particular, the abovementioned regulation prohibits the fishing, transportation and sale of clams which measure less than 2.5 cm.

This restriction could well cause serious damage to the European clam fishing industry and also exposes it to the risk of sanctions in the event of non-compliance.

In this context, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1. On what criteria was the decision to set a minimum size of 2.5 cm for fishable clams based?
2. What steps has the Commission taken or does it intend to take to protect European fisherman, since they will inevitably be less competitive than their counterparts in third countries, who are not subject to the same restrictions and who can export their products, amongst others, to the European market?

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission – 30th March 2015

The minimum conservation size of 2.5 cm for the different species of Venus and carpet clams was originally introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 1626/94 and subsequently, upon a specific request by the European Parliament, maintained in the new Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 on consideration that the industry had not only adjusted very well to their regulation but were calling for its reintroduction in the Commission proposal.

The STECF also provided advice on selectivity improvements of the fishing practice to match with the minimum conservation size.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 also applies to marketing of fishery products caught in the Mediterranean and the Member States can prevent importation and trading of undersized specimens from Mediterranean third countries provided the following conditions apply:

the fishery product has been caught in Mediterranean waters
the measures for imported products are no more disadvantageous than for internal trading
there is no discrimination amongst products coming from different third countries.

(Source: EU Parliament website)

Seminar on FDA requirements for import and food defense

milano piazza del duomo

Together with my friend and partner at Iseven Servizi, Franco Aquilano, on 17th April 2014, in Milan (near the beautiful Duomo), I will teach in a course dedicated to FDA general requirements for import foodstuffs in USA – after the Bioterrorism Act and the Food Safety Modernization Act – and on food defense systems.

While I will cover the first argument, together with some insights about the food recall system in USA and crisis management strategies, Franco will explain the requirements of a food defense system, also in light of some private standards (BRC, IFS).

Food defense is putting measures in place that reduce the chances of the food supply from becoming intentionally contaminated using a variety of chemicals, biological agents or other harmful substances by people who want to do us harm. These agents could include materials that are not naturally-occurring or substances not routinely tested for in food products. A terrorist’s goal might be to kill people, disrupt our economy, or ruin your business. Intentional acts generally occur infrequently, can be difficult to detect, and are hard to predict.

The course is organized by Certiquality, certification body, accredited to provide enterprises with certification services covering quality, environmental and safety management systems, as well as product certification.

You can see the program, download the brochure and book your place, until April 9th, here. Language of the course: Italian.

In case you are late for this date, we will propose again the course after the Summer and is also available on demand for groups. Please be in touch with us or Certiquality for any further info.

Food recalls in EU – Week 13/2015

paprika-smoked-spanish-sweet-1

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 celery in chicken and herb pie from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by Ireland;

– Allergens: undeclared almond in paprika from Spain, via Germany, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Austria, Finland, Namibia, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden;

– Composition: high content of iodine (33 mg/kg – ppm) in dried seaweed from China, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak (Staphylococcal enterotoxin) suspected to be caused by raw milk cheese from France, following food poisoning. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany and Spain;

– Re-crystallised creatine in, suffocation risk and risk of mouth injury as a result of the consumption of chocolate and strawberry flavoured cyclone milk from Austria, following a consumer complaint. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland.

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

– Food additives and flavorings: too high content of E 210 – benzoic acid (6000 mg/kg – ppm) in salted radish from Thailand, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 61.1; Tot. = 78.5 / B1 = 83.7; Tot. = 107.7 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from China, via Greece, following an official control on the market. Notified by Cyprus;

– Poor or insufficient controls: unauthorised operator for frozen chicken cuts from Poland, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Denmark and Netherlands.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • FCM: absence of certified analytical report for polyamide kitchenware from China
  • absence of Common Entry Document (CED) for fig and hazelnut snacks from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19.8; Tot. = 24.4 µg/kg – ppb) in nutmeg powder from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 25.2; Tot. = 26.9 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran and in pistachios in shell (B1 = 170.7; Tot. = 186.6 µg/kg – ppb), via Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 40.5; Tot. = 74.3 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 50.5; Tot. = 64.4 / B1 = 70.2; Tot. = 90.5 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts from the Gambia
  • attempt to illegally import, absence of health certificate(s), absence of labelling on and of certified analytical report for roasted groundnuts from Ghana
  • biphenyl (0.461 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • clofentezine (0.072 mg/kg – ppm) in courgettes from Turkey
  • cyproconazole (0.4 mg/kg – ppm) in ginger from Nicaragua
  • ethephon (2.9 mg/kg – ppm) in red grapes from Peru
  • formetanate (0.887 mg/kg – ppm) in gherkins from Turkey
  • lead (0.38 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen raspberries from Ukraine
  • FCM: migration of chromium (1.7 mg/kg – ppm) from set of knives and from barbecue sets (0.2 mg/kg – ppm) from China
  • FCM: peeler from China unfit for use as food contact material (stainless steel AISI 201)
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g), Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio Vulnificus in frozen shrimps (Penaeus monodon) from Vietnam
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen salted turkey from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in paan leaves from India
  • FEED: Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in soy cakes from Ukraine
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient Epimedium in gingseng tonic from South Korea
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in rice from India and in oranges (0.514 mg/kg – ppm) from Turkey

Summer Academy in Global Food Law and Policy 2015 – Bilbao

Bilbao

The Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy, directed by the excellent friend and Professor Alberto Alemanno, is an established one-week summer programme that brings together practitioners, policymakers, industry representatives and leading academics working in the field of food law and policy. It offers intensive training on the most innovative developments in global food regulation and provides a unique opportunity for professional development and networking in an informal and inter-disciplinary setting. By talking, studying and interacting with food experts from all over the world, participants are able to gain new perspectives into both their own sectors and international regulatory issues. This is achieved by combining traditional classroom instruction with experiential learning opportunities offered by dedicated and distinguished international experts.

The Academy will take place from Monday, 20 July, to Friday, 24 July, 2015 in Bilbao, Spain. The choice of this vibrant city will enable participants to benefit from the world renowned Basque cuisine, its privileged geographical location between the Atlantic sea and the Rioja region, as well as its distinctive architectural landscapes (with the Guggenheim Museum, Norman Foster’s Undergroud, the towers by Arata Isozaki and César Pelli and the Calatrava’s airport).

The key note speaker of the next edition of the academy is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver.

The provisional program is the following:

  • Key Note address: “Appetite for Change: Tackling Undernourishment, Micronutrient Deficiency and Obesity” – Hilal Elver – UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food
  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Food Trade – Alberto Alemanno – Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris and Global Clinical Professor, NYU School of Law
  • Tensions between Food Security and Ecologic Urgency – Richard A. Falk – Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus at Princeton University
  • The Obesity Challenge: What Role for the Law in the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases? – Amandine Garde – Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool
  • The Perils of Comparative Food Law: Convergence, Divergence, and Complexity in US and EU Food Law – Neal Fortin – Director of Institute for Food Laws and Regulations, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Food Fraud: Guilty or Innocent? – Gilles Boin – Partner at Product Law Firm
  • Bridging the Gap between Behavioural and Experimental Policymaking and Obesity: Unleashing the Power of Peers for Healthy Nutrition – Pelle Guldborg Hansen – Founder of iNudgeyou and Professor Director of ISSP at Roskilde University
  • The Protection of Food-Related Geographical Indications in the Global Village: The TRIPS regime and the Battle between the Old World and the New World – Enrico Bonadio – Senior Lecturer in Law, City University London
  • Food safety expert panel: A comparison between the United States, the European Union, Japan, and China – European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) presentation

And many more sessions and speakers to be announced.

As former participant to this event I  warmly suggest you to attend!

To download the 2015 preview program, please click here

Guidance document describing the food categories of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on Food Additives

Foodadditives031015

These guidance document describing the food categories in Part E of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on Food Additives was elaborated by Commission services after consultation with the Member States’ experts on food additives and the relevant stakeholders, and updated to March 2015.

The descriptions of the categories can be useful for Member State control authorities and food industry to assure correct implementation of the food additives legislation.

The guidance document does not represent the official position of the Commission and they do not intend to produce legally binding effects. Only the European Court of Justice has jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings concerning the validity and interpretation of acts of the institutions of the EU pursuant to Article 267 of the Treaty. The Guidance notes have not been adopted on the basis of Article 19 (c) of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008.

The Union list of food additives approved for use in food and their conditions of use are included in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives. The food additives are listed on the basis of the categories of food to which they may be added e.g. fish and fish products, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, confectionery, etc.

The list allows easy identification of the additives authorised for use in a certain foodstuff, offering greater transparency. The list is more accessible for all persons involved in any component of the food chain, be it as a consumer, the control authorities or the food industry. The improved transparency allows correct and therefore safer use of food additives.

This guidance document is provided to describe the different categories in order to enhance uniform application and enforcement. It should be noted that the food categories have been created with the sole purpose of listing the authorised additives and their conditions of use. The food category descriptors are not to be legal product designations nor are they intended for labelling purposes.

Where vertical legislation is referred to in the title of a category the definitions as provided in that legislation apply. In addition to the description of the categories, the guidance document also describes the foodstuffs in Annex II that are written in italic. The food category system does not specifically mention compound foodstuffs, e.g. prepared meals, because they may contain, pro rata, all the additives authorised for use in their components via carry over. Where necessary, this guidance document will be updated to provide further clarification.

(Source: EU Commission – DG Sante website)

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)

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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)

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