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Written Q&A to EU Commission – Food frauds countermeasures

interrogation point

Question for written answer
to the Commission
Diane Dodds (NI)

25th September 2014

Subject:  Securing a safe and transparent food chain

The UK recently announced the establishment of a body tasked with combating crime within the food chain, the Food Crime Unit. This is very clearly a development resulting from the horse meat scandal.

Within this context, can the Commission provide an update as to what steps have been taken in recent months to secure a safe and transparent food chain on a European level?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission – 31st October 2014

The Commission confirms that continuous efforts are being deployed to implement and develop the initiatives mentioned in its answer to Written Question E ‐004498/2014.

Members of the network of national contact points for food fraud are increasingly engaged in cooperation and mutual assistance on cross-border cases. The network meets on a regular basis, showing to be also a useful forum for sharing experience.

Work is progressing on the setting up of a dedicated IT tool to serve the network above. This tool is going to support the data exchange between the Member States and with the Commission for the purpose of strengthening administrative assistance and cooperation.

To strengthen the capability of the control systems to detect food fraud ten modules of training on e-commerce and on investigation techniques are being offered in 2014-2015 under the Better Training for Safer Food programme.

A Conference on ‘Food fraud: a joint effort to ensure the safety and integrity of our food’ organised jointly by the Italian Presidency and the European Commission was held in Rome on 23-24 October 2014. It gathered organisations and bodies active at national and EU levels on the different aspects of the fight against food fraud.

Discussions are also ongoing with Member States on the possibility to develop further coordinated control plans in accordance with Article 53 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004

(Source: European Parliament website)

USA – Minnesota Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

E.coli O157 H7

Class I Recall – Health Risk: High- Nov 22, 2014

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2014 – Ranchers Legacy Meat Co., of Vadnais Heights, Minn., is recalling 1,200 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Products subject to the recall are packaged in plastic cryovac sealed packets, and contain various weights of ground beef.  All products produced on Nov. 19, 2014 are subject to recall.

All of the following have a Package Code (use by) 12/10/2014 and bear the establishment number “Est. 40264” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Individual products include:

  • Ranchers Legacy Ground Beef Patties 77/23
  • Ranchers Legacy Ground Chuck Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice Ground Beef 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice WD Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy RD Beef Patties 80/20
  • OTG Manufacturing Chuck/Brisket RD Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend Oval Beef Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy WD Chuck Blend Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice NAT Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy NAT Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice NAT Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy Ground Chuck Blend
  • Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend Bulk Pack NAT Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend NAT Beef Patties

The product was discovered by FSIS inspection personnel during a routine inspection. Products testing positive on November 21, 2014 were held at the establishment.  The products being recalled were produced on the same day and equipment as the positive product.  Products were shipped to distributors for sales nationwide.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 ° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature,

Consumers and media with questions regarding the recall should call Jeremy Turnquist, Vice President of Operations for Ranchers Legacy Meat Co. at (651) 366-6575.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at or via smartphone at The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit

Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.

Color is NOT a reliable indicator that meat has been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria.

The only way to be sure the meat or poultry is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
– Fish: 145°F
– Beef, pork, lamb chops/steaks/roasts: 145°F with a three minute rest time
– ground meat: 160°F
– poultry: 165°F
– hot dogs: 160°F or steaming hot

Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90º F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 46)


Here’s my article’s selection for the week:


Experts respond to food safety amendment, by Ted Chen on The China Post.


ECDC publishes 2013 surveillance data on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial consumption in EU, by K. Weist and L. Diaz Hogberg, on Eurosurveillance: on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EEAD) on 18 November 2014, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released 2013 data on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial consumption in Europe.

M&S rolling out action plan to combat campylobacterby Vince Bamford on The Grocer: Marks&Spencer is putting in place a five point action plan to reduce campylobacter in poultry.

UK bird flu strain confirmed as H5N8, by Georgi Gyton+, on Globalmeatnews: the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the UK has been confirmed as the H5N8 strain of the disease – the same as the outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany this month.


CSPI asks FDA to add sesame to list of allergens, mandate labeling, by Elizabeth Crawford, on Foodnavigator-USA: FDA should protect the estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Americans who are dangerously allergic to sesame by mandating the ingredient be labeled clearly when in foods and when products are made on the same machinery as foods with the ingredient, the Center for Science in the Public Interest argues.

General Mills settles ‘100% natural’ Nature Valley lawsuit; does not admit liability, by Elaine Watson+, on Bakeryandsnacks: General Mills has agreed that it will not use the term ‘100% natural’ to describe Nature Valley bars that contain certain ‘artificially produced’ ingredients in order to settle a long-running false advertising lawsuit.

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 45)


Here’s my article selection of the week:


Environment Committee backs flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops, from European Parliament ENVI Committee: long-awaited draft plans to allow EU member states to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms on their own territory even if it is allowed at EU level won the support of the Environment Committee on Tuesday. MEPs voted to remove the Council-backed idea of a phase of negotiations with the GMO company, and supported plans to allow member states to ban GMO crops on environmental grounds.

Italy cracks whip on health claim abusers – fines could reach €5m, by Shane Starling+, on Nutraingredients: regulators in Italy’s €1.2bn food supplements market are cracking the harshest whips against health claims abusers in the EU – a firm was recently fined €250,000 – but will the wounds be deep enough to change the market?

- Fears that German avian flu outbreak could spread, by Ed Bedington, on animal health experts are continuing to monitor the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in Germany as the yearly migration of wild birds continues to cause concerns the condition might spread.


China Health Food: New Regulations on Nutritional Supplements, by Rachel Shen, on on Nov. 5, 2014, CFDA released the draft of Administrative Provisions on Nutritional Supplements and Requirements on Dossiers for Nutritional Supplements, which gives detailed instructions on regulatory requirements for nutritional supplements in China. The period for public consultation is until Nov. 30, 2014.


Mediterranean diet has ‘lasting’ health benefits, say researchers, by Nathan Gray+, on the health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean style diet and upping the amount of time spent exercising for a period of just eight weeks can still be seen a year after stopping the regime, according to a new study.


Food Fraud: Money Scam and Health Hazard, by Beth Krietsch, on Foodsafetynews: despite the common belief that food fraud in the United States is a rarity, the globalized nature of our food supply chain means many of our favorite foods and ingredients travel far and wide before they reach our plates, making adulteration and other types of food fraud a considerate problem here as well.

New App Shows Health Inspection Records for Nearby Restaurants, by James Andrews, on

Revised FSMA Provisions Need More Tweaks, by Lydia Zuraw, on the public is generally pleased with the revised provisions of four rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but the public comments at the Food and Drug Administration’s public meeting Thursday suggest that the agency may have more tweaking to do.

Unilever: “Just Mayo” Misleads Consumers Because It’s Not “Mayo”, by David Ter Molen, on on October 31, 2014, Unilever filed suit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against Hampton Creek, Inc. for false advertising and unfair competition for selling an egg-free spread under the brand name “Just Mayo.” According to Unilever, the lack of any eggs in the product precludes it from being labeled as “mayonnaise” under federal regulations and consumers are further misled in this regard by the egg on the product label.

Books – CHINA: How to export more or better – Introduction to Chinese food law


It is almost commonplace to remember that China is one of the world powers whose growth increases from year to year. In this context, the eagerness of Chinese consumers for imported foodstuffs in general and Europeans in particular does nothing but increase.

However, it is also true that the law covering the food industry in China is presented as an extremely complex and constantly evolving; additional difficulty is exacerbated by the unstable criteria of local implementation by the competent authorities.

To meet the demand of those who want to experience the food law in that country, Thompson-Reuters-Aranzadi published in Spanish: “Introducción al Derecho alimentario” authored by an experienced italian lawyer, resident in Shanghai for several years, Nicola Aporti and edited by Luis González Vaqué:

The new book has been patronized by the “China European Union Food Law Working Party”. Its objective is to be descriptive, focusing on the main aspects of the most outstanding subjects and aspects of food law in China: authorities and regulations, production, distribution and supply of food, food imports, control and responsibilities, application of intellectual property rights, etc.

Its content is not only informative but its aim is to be useful to guide lawyers and entrepreneurs interested in exporting foods to China. The Food Security Act (LSA) and the Administrative Regulations for the registration of foreign producers of imported food products, two key provisions of the Chinese legal system governing the food sector are included in English version.

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Organic labeling and counterfeiting

interrogation point

Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Nicola Caputo (S&D)

3rd September 2014

Subject:  Labelling of organic foods and counterfeit products

As demand for organic and protected geographical indication (PGI) products rises dramatically, the quantity of fraudulent products on the market is rising with it: hundreds of products are being passed off as organic foods subject to rigorous checks but have in fact been falsely labelled and produced with complete disregard for the rules, using harmful pesticides, non-comestible liquids or even substances intended for use in animal feed.

1. How does the Commission intend to boost organic food production in an effort to satisfy demand without sacrificing quality?

2. In the context of the EU proposal on the labelling of organic products, what monitoring systems could be used to clamp down on counterfeit foods?

3. How does the Commission plan to tackle the increasing use of e-commerce to export ‘fake organic’ products quickly and on a huge scale, and to import counterfeit products?

Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission – 20th October 2014

1. The Common agricultural policy (CAP) includes measures to support organic production. From 2015, Member States will have to use 30% of direct payments to finance payments to farmers for sustainable agricultural practices that are beneficial for climate and environment. The practices of an organic farmer will be considered per se as complying with these so-called greening payments. Rural development framework includes opportunities to support increase of organic production, as a specific measure provides for Member States to support farmers converting to, or maintaining, organic production practices. The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme (SFVS) and the School Milk Scheme (SMS) present opportunities for organic farmers.

Research and innovation has a role to play in development of EU organics, and to this end the action plan for the future of Organic Production in the European Union(1) foresees actions under Horizon 2020 to support research and innovation. The European Innovation Partnership for agriculture will also foster the exchange of innovative methods and research results and make the link between science and practice.

2. The proposal allocates a budget for technical assistance measures by the Commission so as to implement a system of electronic certification, both for products imported and for EU operators. This will make forgery and fraud, currently found in paper documents, more difficult and will enhance traceability and control.

3. As part of its Action Plan1 the Commission will assist Member States in developing and implementing an organic fraud prevention policy, through targeted workshops to share good practices and the development of compendia/casebook of cases.

(1) COM(2014)179 final ;

(Source: European Parliament website)

USA – FDA Egg Safety Rule


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a regulation expected to prevent each year approximately 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis.

The regulation requires preventive measures during the production of eggs in poultry houses and requires subsequent refrigeration during storage and transportation.

Egg-associated illness caused by Salmonella is a serious public health problem. Infected individuals may suffer mild to severe gastrointestinal illness, short term or chronic arthritis, or even death. Implementing the preventive measures would reduce the number of Salmonella Enteritidis infections from eggs by nearly 60 percent.

The rule requires that measures designed to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis be adopted by virtually all egg producers with 3,000 or more laying hens whose shell eggs are not processed with a treatment, such as pasteurization, to ensure their safety.

Details about the regulation can be found below.

(Source: FDA website)

FSA UK – Survey on allergen advisory labeling

food allergies

The survey examined the type of allergen advisory labelling present on pre-packed processed foods sold in the UK, and aimed to quantify the level of allergens resulting from cross-contamination and establish whether the type of advisory labelling used related to the level of allergen present.

The current regulatory framework within the European Union mandates the declaration of 14 allergens as constituent ingredients (i.e. peanuts, nuts, soybeans, mustard, eggs, lupin, milk, fish, cereals containing gluten, sesame, celery, sulphur dioxide, molluscs and crustaceans) in pre-packed foods. This legislation does not cover unintentional cross-contamination with allergens or the resultant use of advisory labelling.

The FSA introduced ‘best practice’ guidance on managing food allergens in 2006 to assist the food industry in the use of advisory labelling. However, due to the lack of standardisation in allergen risk assessment methodology and inconsistencies in allergen management practices, the application of advisory labelling varies in the way it is presented to consumers.

These variations have led some allergic consumers to believe that different types of advisory statements convey different levels of risk (i.e. ‘made in a factory that also handles X allergen’, versus ‘made on a line that also handles X’ allergen).

It was anticipated that the results of this survey will help to inform the development of proportionate risk based allergen management thresholds (known as action levels). It was envisaged that action levels will be used by the food industry as well as by regulatory and enforcement bodies to inform decisions about allergen management, and enable the appropriate use of allergen advisory statements, such as ‘not suitable for those with X allergy’ on pre-packed foods. Furthermore, it was anticipated that action levels will help food businesses make evidence-based decisions on the use of factual statements about whether or not a food is suitable for consumption by someone with a food allergy.

Five hundred and eight pre-packed processed foods were purchased in duplicate (two samples with identical batch/production codes giving a total of 1,016 products) from a range of retail outlets across the UK, including major and smaller national supermarkets as well as independent retailers. Products with allergen advisory statements and an equal number of comparable products without such statements were purchased.

Samples were tested for the unintentional presence and quantity of one or more of the following four major food allergens: milk, gluten, peanut and hazelnut. These allergens were chosen due to the large number of incidents the FSA received over the past few years and because of their importance to public health.

The survey examined the different types of advisory statements used on pre-packed foods and compared the use of these phrases to the levels of allergens present. It was anticipated this may help to establish whether the use of certain advisory statements are linked to the level of allergen present and indicate whether different types of statements convey different levels of risk to the consumer. In addition, the survey examined whether the suggested advisory labelling statements set out in the FSA’s Best Practice Guidance were being used by industry.

The snapshot nature of this survey and sampling methodology means that it may not be representative of the entire UK retail market; it is therefore difficult to extrapolate findings to the UK retail market as a whole. The main findings are as follows:

Undeclared allergen cross-contamination in the UK is lower than previously found in studies in other countries, notably Ireland and the USA.

The percentage of samples with detectable allergen (both with and without advisory labelling) and where that allergen was not present as an intentional ingredient, were as follows: gluten – 6.1% (33/542); milk – 8.2% (39/474); hazelnut – 2.9% (29/988); peanut – 0.21% (2/950).

The percentage of samples with detectable allergen, where that allergen was not present as an intentional ingredient and which did not carry an advisory label were as follows: gluten 3.3% (18/542); milk – 2.1% (10/474); hazelnut – 0% (0/988); peanut – 0% (0/950).

The percentage of samples in which no allergen was detected but carried an advisory label were as follows: gluten – 19% (97/509); milk – 18% (77/435); hazelnut – 44% (427/959); and peanut – 45% (430/948).

The wording of the advisory label did not reflect the level of cross contamination found (for any of the four allergens across any product category).

A wide variety of different statements were used across the product categories. The most frequently used advisory label was ‘may contain traces’ (38% (418/1106)). The second most frequently used was ‘may contain’ (20.6% (228/1106)).

FSA guidance recommends the use of ‘may contain X’ or ‘not suitable for someone with X allergy’. These two statements were found on 20.6% and 7.2% (80/1106) of products, respectively.

The survey is available here.

(Source: FSA website)

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 44)


Here is my article’s selection of the week:


Top Food Safety Shanghai Tips, by Paul O’Brien, on tips on Chinese food safety from an expatriate consultant.


Lithuania bans energy drink sales to under 18s, by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , on Lithuania has banned energy drink sales to under 18s – making the Baltic state the first European country to do so.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in Germany, by Georgi Gyton+, on an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza strain H5N8 has been discovered in Germany, with more than 30,000 birds reportedly susceptible to the disease.

Three simultaneous, food-borne, multi-country outbreaks of hepatitis A virus infection reported in EPIS-FWD in 2013: what does it mean for the European Union?by C.M. Gossner – E. Severi, on Eurosurveillance: the aim of this work is to put these recent outbreaks into an EU perspective and highlight opportunities for improving detection and investigation of future multinational HAV outbreaks.


FSA and supermarkets in fresh clash over campylobacter ‘naming and shaming’, by Julia Glotz, on The Grocer: the Food Standards Agency has slammed retailers for putting renewed pressure on it not to ‘name and shame’ them in its campylobacter survey on supermarket chicken.


U.S. Passes First Soda Tax, by Jennifer Grebow, on Nutritional Outlook: sugary drinks like soda will now cost you more—that is, if you live in Berkeley, CA. Voters there approved a measure that will add 12 cents to the cost of a can of soda and 68 cents to the cost of a 2-L bottle, according to CNN, and Berkeley Puts First Soda Tax on the Books, by Gretchen Goetz, on

FDA Finds Gluten in Presumably Gluten-Free Products, by Robby Gardner, on Nutritional Outlook: it appears that celiacs have good reason to be wary of processed foods that are not specifically labeled gluten-free. In an FDA study on over 400 market-sold foods, researchers found that even when products were presumably gluten-free—that is, their ingredient lists did not include wheat, rye, and barley—many of them were, in fact, contaminated with gluten.

Recalled Bean Sprouts Linked to 2 Listeria Deaths, 3 Hospitalizations, on two people have died and three others have been hospitalized after eating Listeria-contaminated bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products of Chicago, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


FVO report – Sweden – Pesticide controls weaknesses


This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in Sweden, carried out between 13 to 20 May 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.

The report concludes that Sweden is well placed to fully implement Directive 2009/128/EC as operator training and testing of application equipment has been in place for many years. Farmers follow Integrated Pest Management and good practices when using plant protection products (PPPs). While there are well documented procedures for PPP authorisation, the system of mutual recognition is not effective due to Member State (MS) specific requirements and/or the refusal to accept the evaluations done by other MS.

As regards emergency authorisations, there are cases where such authorisations are granted even where the specific pest can be controlled by other reasonable means.

The scope and frequency of inspections is not sufficient to ensure that only authorised PPPs are marketed. The scope of inspections at growers is not sufficient to ensure that only authorised PPPs are used in accordance with the conditions of use, with the exception of controls under Cross
Compliance. The absence of a PPP formulation analysis programme means the system for detection of illegal or counterfeit PPPs is not sufficiently effective.

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick News from the food world (Week 43)


Here’s my article’s selection of the week:


Author: EU health claims laws cannot be bent for botanicals, by Bert Schwitters, on nutrition author, blogger and harsh critic of the EU’s health claim laws, Bert Schwitters, says any attempt to create separate rules for more than 1500 on-hold botanical claim applications is doomed to failure in this guest article;

Should energy drinks be age-restricted like alcohol? WHO official asks in report, by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+, on energy drink consumption among young people, particularly in connection with alcohol, presents a significant public health concern that warrants further research and regulation, according to a report authored by World Health Organisation (WHO) officials.

GM regulations hold back innovation, say UK researchers, by Caroline Scott-Thomas+, on current European restrictions on genetically modified (GM) crops could hold back crop innovation needed to ensure food security, claims a UK government-funded research body.


Amidst Public Controversy China Debates GMO Development, by John Balzano, on Forbes: an interesting article about China’s approach to GMOs and the doubts between treating GMOs like any other food and regulating them in a more specific way;

China lifts 2013 ban on Fonterra infant formula ingredients, by Mark Astley+ , on China has lifted its ban on the import of Fonterra two infant formula ingredients, more than a year after it was implemented in the midst of the 2013 botulism scare.


HC bans import of food additive Allura Red, on the High  banned import of food additive Allura Red AC, also a colouring agent, after the country’s food safety authority admitted it was a prohibited chemical.


- In pics: Two months of food scandals rocks Taiwan, by RJ Whitehead, on recent reports that international furniture retailer Ikea has been using expired milk in its ice cream is the latest scandal to rock Taiwan. We take a look at a tense two months for food authorities and consumers as some of the island’s worst abuses came to light.

New rules in Kaohsiung will give whistleblowers handsome cash reward, on Kaohsiung’s city council amended municipal food safety rules to offer whistleblowers 60 percent of fines levied on convicted companies — the highest cash award offered by any jurisdiction in Taiwan.


Quick fixes could quell rising tide of undeclared allergen food recalls, by Elizabeth Crawford, on simple changes in how food manufacturers handle and trace ingredients, packages and labels at production facilities could reduce dramatically the number of recalls due to undeclared allergens, which make up the vast majority of food recalls, according to FDA.

Appeals Court Won’t Tamper With COOL, But Keeping It Could Be Costly, on foodsafetynews.coma decision by the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stated that, unless the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue, domestic courts are fine with U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that require producers to keep track and report on the label on the birthplace, residence, and location at passing for each hunk of meat sold at retail in the U.S. regardless of the burden or cost.

Report: Bait-and-Switch Tactics Found in One-Third of U.S. Shrimp Sales, on in the only known U.S. study using DNA testing on retail and restaurant shrimp, Oceana confirmed that 30 percent of the 143 products tested from 111 grocery stores and restaurants were misrepresented. It also found that consumers are often provided with little information about the shrimp they purchase, including where and how it was caught or farmed, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make informed choices.


WHO calls for standardised nutrition labelling, by Caroline Scott-Thomas+, on the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for a more unified approach to front-of-pack nutrition labelling.

Clear Label Leads Top 10 Trends for 2015

10 Food Trends Worth Watching for 2015 by Innova Market Insights

“From Clean to Clear Label” and “Convenience for Foodies” lead the Innova Market Insights food & beverage Top 10 Trends list for 2015. Innova Market Insights will present these trends in a webinar on November 6 (4pm CET, 10am EST). Register here.

The Top Ten Trends likely to impact the food industry in 2015 and beyond have been identified by Innova Market Insights from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drink launch activity worldwide. In previous years, the market researcher has consistently identified upcoming trends to watch, including “Sustainability” in 2008, “Free-From Rises” in 2010, “Return to Softer Claims” in 2011, and “Location, Location, Location” in 2012, all of which have developed further and continue to have a significant effect on the industry today.

The Top 10 Trends likely to impact the food industry in 2015 and beyond have been identified by Innova Market Insights from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drink launch activity worldwide.

“The move from ‘clean’ to ‘clear’ labeling is a key trend for 2015, reflecting a move to clearer and simpler claims and packaging for maximum transparency,” reports Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Meeting the needs of the Millennial consumer has also become a key focus, as has targeting the demands of the gourmet consumer at home, re-engineering the snacks market for today’s lifestyles and combating obesity with a focus on positive nutrition.”

Top food and beverage trends for 2015 are led by:

  1. From Clean to Clear Label. Clean label claims are tracked on nearly a quarter of all food and beverage launches, with manufacturers increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origin of their products. With growing concerns over the lack of a definition of “natural,” however, there is a need for more clarity and specific details. Consumers, retailers, industry and regulators are all driving more transparency in labeling.
  2. Convenience for Foodies. Continued interest in home cooking has been driven by cooking shows on TV and by blogging foodies. It is seen as fashionable, fun and social, as well as healthy and cost-effective. It has driven demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients for cooking from scratch and a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.
  3. Marketing to Millennials. The so-called Millennial generation, generally aged between 15 and 35, now accounts for about one-third of the global population and is tech savvy and socially engaged. They are well informed, want to try something different and are generally less brand loyal than older consumers. They want to connect with products and brands and know the story behind them.
  4. Snacks Rise to the Occasion. Formal mealtimes are continuing to decline in popularity and growing numbers of foods and drinks are now considered to be snacks. Quick healthy foods are tending to replace traditional meal occasions and more snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different times of day.
  5. Good Fats, Good Carbs. With concerns over obesity there is a growing emphasis on unsaturated and natural fats and oils that has seen rising interest in omega 3 fatty acid content as well as the return of butter to favor as a natural, tasty alternative to artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. In the same way, naturally-occurring sugar is being favored at the expense of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Innova Market Insights will present the Top 10 Trends at Hi Europe, Amsterdam, booth no. G40 (Ingredients in Action), December 2-4.

CANADA – Food Recall Warning – Unpasteurized cider recalled due to E. coli O157:H7

E.coli O157 H7

Recall date: October 30-31, 2014

Reason for recall: Microbiological – E. coli O157:H7

Hazard classification: Class 1

Company / Firm: Osoleo Wildcrafters

Distribution: Ontario

Extent of the distribution: Retail

Recall details

Ottawa, October 31, 2014 – The food recall warning issued on October 30, 2014 has been updated to include additional product information. This additional information was identified during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) food safety investigation.

Industry is recalling unpasteurized cider from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC Additional Info
None Unpasteurized apple cider Sold in unlabeled plastic jugs and unlabeled plastic bags None None Distribution information: Sold from October 10, 2014 to October 11, 2014, inclusively at 926 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario
None Unpasteurized apple cider Sold in unlabeled plastic jugs None None Distribution information: Sold from October 10, 2014 to October 11, 2014, inclusively at 3124 Lobsinger Line, St. Clements, Ontario
Osoleo Wildcrafters Cranberry-Apple Cider Unpasteurized L, 2 L, 4 L None None Distribution information: Sold by Osoleo Wildcrafters from October 10, 2014 to October 13, 2014, inclusively at:

  • The Village Market (Waldorf Market),
    Thornhill, Ontario
  • Leslieville Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
None Cranberry-Apple Cider Unpasteurized Sold in unlabeled plastic jugs None None Distribution information: Sold by Osoleo Wildcrafters from October 10, 2014 to October 13, 2014, inclusively at:

  • The Village Market (Waldorf Market),
    Thornhill, Ontario
  • Leslieville Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
Two Century Farm Pear Cider Unpasteurized L, 2 L, 4 L None None Distribution information: Sold by Osoleo Wildcrafters from October 10, 2014 to October 13, 2014, inclusively at:

  • The Village Market (Waldorf Market),
    Thornhill, Ontario
  • Leslieville Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
None Pear Cider Unpasteurized Sold in unlabeled plastic jugs None None Distribution information: Sold by Osoleo Wildcrafters from October 10, 2014 to October 13, 2014, inclusively at:

  • The Village Market (Waldorf Market),
    Thornhill, Ontario
  • Leslieville Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market,
    Toronto, Ontario

What you should do

Check to see if you have the products in your home. If the products are in your home, do not consume them.

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.


This recall was triggered by findings by the CFIA during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.


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

More information

Osoleo Wildcrafters: 647-300-8129

For more information, consumers and industry can contact the CFIA by filling out the online feedback form.


Printer ready version of photos

(Source: CFIA website)

WakeUp® drink targets the US market

WakeUp Drink Offsets Post-Lunch Dip Syndrome (1)

The “WakeUp Post-lunch Waker”® drink was announced the winner of the SupplySide West CPG Editors’ Choice Awards 2014 in the Energy Drink category.

Unlike other energy drinks, “WakeUp Post-lunch Waker” is a patented, safe and clinically tested beverage formulation with no added caffeine, chemicals or any stimulants that can impact heart rate or blood pressure. WakeUp drink is not a typical energy drink; rather it opens a revolutionary new product category, scientifically proven to overcome fatigue after lunchtime (known as “Post-Lunch Dip Syndrome”) embedded in everyone’s biological clock.

“The out-of-the box thinking displayed by the companies on the short list in each category made selecting just one winner a challenge for our editorial team,” said Heather Granato, vice president, content, in Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network. “We’re excited to celebrate their innovation and market vision as CPG industry leaders.”

“After we won the ‘Best Functional Drink’ award last year in Europe, we consider the CPG Editors’ Choice Award to be our ‘admission ticket’ to the US beverage market,” says Eli Faraggi, CEO of Inno-Bev and founder of “WakeUp post-lunch waker.” “Consumer awareness of an inner biological clock, and growing recognition of Post-Lunch Dip Syndrome as part of it, has increased dramatically, especially in fast-paced economies. WakeUp is uniquely positioned to address this rapidly growing tiredness crisis.

WakeUp is now actively seeking to partner in the U.S. with leading retail, Internet and MLM nutritional beverage brands. “We believe our innovative, scientifically-supported approach will revolutionize the American energy category,” adds Faraggi. “We should remember that children who grew up on caffeine energy drinks are now in their late 30s and still struggle to keep pace with the demands of home and work, all while maintaining an active, healthy life.”

Why are we always tired?

  • Physiology – the 24-hour circadian cycle is a natural biological process in which the body is controlled by a seven-hour cycle: fatigue, elevation, and peak again. About 7-8 hours after waking, our systems slow down and decrease their rhythms. Blood pressure decreases, blood glucose rises and we have a slight drop in body temperature.
  • Nutrition – Post-lunch dip occurs whether we eat or not. However, a heavy meal can increase the symptoms, especially if it is rich in carbohydrates.

WakeUp is backed up by strong research and provides a healthy, flavorful alternative to energy drinks in the market today. It designed to combat tiredness after lunch time. The Inno-Bev Ltd. business model offers different options for licensing the patented science and formulation.” By drinking just 100ml of WakeUp drink, you, your managers, and employees can improve performance and awareness without impact on your blood pressure,” notes Faraggi.

FVO report – Croatia – Meat and milk products compliance to EU legal framework

pouring milk in a glass isolated

The first report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Croatia from 24 March to 4 April 2014.

The main objective of the audit was to evaluate the official controls related to production and storage of food of animal origin, in particular meat and meat products. This is the first audit in Croatia in the meat sector since the accession of Croatia to the European Union.

The report concludes that the CA has set up a control system covering official controls related to production and storage of food of animal origin within the scope of this audit. The CA has delegated specific tasks to authorised veterinary organisations.

While a system of controls in the meat sector has been put in place, the system for verification of effectiveness of official control is not adequate, since shortcomings can remain unnoticed for a long period of time despite the implementation of the verification system. The FVO audit team
noted significant discrepancies in control results between all levels of controls. Many of the deficiencies identified by the FVO audit team, which were obvious, remained unidentified during recent official controls.

The Central Competent Authority (CCA) has established procedures for the registration and approval of establishments and the review of compliance with the conditions of approval and for the withdrawal of approvals. The procedures for approval and its review showed weaknesses as certain establishments were approved whilst not meeting all the relevant requirements and a review failed to identify non-compliances. The upgrading of temporarily approved establishments is monitored and the deadline of compliance by the end of 2015 seems to be realistic.
Although planned, the CCA has not yet established rules allowing flexibility for certain establishments which are permanently or temporarily approved although some establishments, in particular, those with a low throughput or located in a remote area, could benefit from this.
Certain national rules have been established and implemented but were not yet notified to the Commission Services.

The second describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Croatia from 24 March to 4 April 2014. The main objective of the audit was to evaluate the official controls related to production and storage of food of animal origin and in particular milk and dairy products.

The report concludes that there is a system in place for official controls in the dairy sector, which, however, is not fully adequate. Significant discrepancies in control results between all levels were noted. Similarly, the system for verification of effectiveness of official controls is not adequate, since shortcomings can remain unnoticed for a long period of time despite the implementation of the verification system.

Although planned, the Central Competent Authority (CCA) did not yet establish rules allowing flexibility for certain establishments (establishments with small capacity, – in remote areas,-supplying the local market and for traditional methods) which are permanently or temporarily approved although some establishments, in particular, those with a low throughput could benefit from it.

National measures are in place for small cheese producers that can either be approved under special conditions (retail sale only) or registered (for local markets) based on requirements that are stricter than European Union (EU) requirements.

The upgrading procedure followed in the milk sector should be adequate to ensure compliant establishments by the end of the transitional period. The quality of raw milk has improved further and is now up to 95 % compliant raw milk altogether.
Milk collection centres are only registered and not approved as required by EU legislation. In one fully approved establishment potential risks for public health were identified and the CCA was requested to take corrective measures and provide guarantees. Similarly, guarantees were
received for all other major non-compliances detected.


Food recalls in EU/Week 42


This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have five recalls from consumers in EU in the alert notifications:

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in chilled salads, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and Luxembourg;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Indiana in chilled and frozen whole chicken, chicken cuts and chicken liver, following company’s own check. Origin Denmark, notified by Denmark, distributed also to Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

Pesticide residues: chlorothalonil and dimethoate in fresh endives, following an official control on the market. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Netherlands;

Allergens: undeclared gluten and egg in baby food, following company’s own check. Origin Poland, notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland.

Between the information for attention, followed by a recall from consumers:

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Bacillus cereus enterotoxigenic in gnocchi, following an official control on the market. Origin Italy, notified by Germany.

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:

Industrial contaminants: too high content of hydrogen peroxid in chocolate & vanilla desert, following a consumer complaint. Origin Czech Republic, notified by Germany;

Mycotoxins: Ochratoxin A in whole emmer wheat pasta, following company’s own check. Origin Italy, notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp in smoked sausages, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

Residues of veterinary medicinal products: diclazuril unauthorised in chilled equine carcasses, following an official control on the market. Origin Portugal, notified from Portugal, distributed also to Italy.

Amongst border rejections we have:

aflatoxins in pistachio nuts, raw pistachios in shell from Iran and from Iran (dispatched from Turkey), in sweet shelled almond kernels from Afghanistan (via Turkey), in almonds from the United States, in crushed chillies from India, in whole nutmegs from Indonesia and groundnuts from Brazil;

sulphite unauthorised in apple drink from Lebanon;

- unsuitable organoleptic characteristics of nutmeg from Indonesia infested with moulds;

Salmonella spp in paan leaves from India;

methomyl in peppers from Turkey;

carbendazim and unauthorised substances hexaconazole and isoprothiolane in fresh celery from Cambodia;

methamidophos and acephate in red chili peppers from Vietnam;

- prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) in frozen catfish  and Pangasius fillets from Vietnam;

- tuna chunks in brine from the Seychelles with defective packaging;

benzo(a)pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in unrefined soybean oil from Ukraine;

- unauthorised substance molybdenum chelate in food supplement from the United States;

E 363 – succinic acid unauthorised in vodka from Russia.

For feed, we have an alert notification, followed by the withdrawal from the market of the product:

Pathogenic micro-organisms: possible presence of Bacillus anthracis in beef bones for feed, following an official control on the market. Origin Slovakia, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Germany.

and border rejections for Salmonella spp. in fish meal from Mauritania, unauthorised genetically modified cotton seeds from Côte d’Ivoire, aflatoxins in birdfeed from India and too high count of Enterobacteriaceae in dog chews from Thailand.

For food contact materials we have an alert notification, followed by a recall from consumers for:

Migration of lead from springform heart shape, following an official control on the market. Origin China, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia;

and border rejections for migration of manganese from grill plate and of formaldehyde from kitchenware from China.

Related articles

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 42)


Here’s my article’s selection of the week:


EU project seeks to improve GM food safety testing, by Caroline Scott-Thomas+, on an EU-funded project that aims to improve safety testing for genetically modified (GM) foods has published its first results.


FSA promises probe after sheep’s milk protein found in UK goats’ cheese, by Mark Astley+ , on the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has promised an investigation after several samples of goats’ cheese sold in Britain were found to contain up to 80% sheep’s cheese.

Venomous spider strikes again, in Waitrose bananas, by Rod Addy+, on a Waitrose shopper got the shock of his life when he uncovered the world’s deadliest spider in a bunch of bananas just delivered by the upmarket supermarket chain.


Are Recalls an Effective Element of Food Safety?, by James Andrews, on given that recalls are often not issued until after the damage has been done, the question has regularly been raised in the food industry as to whether or not recalls are an effective tool in food safety. The question was the topic of a debate at this year’s International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) conference in Indianapolis.

FDA to hold public meeting on key FSMA proposed rules, by Heidi Parsons, on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced it will hold a public meeting Nov. 13 to discuss potential changes to four proposed rules associated with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

- WTO Rules Against Country-of-Origin Labeling on Meat in U.S., by James Andrews, on the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the United States over country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat.

Making Sense of Seals of Approval, by Michele Simon, on “These days health-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking out food products not only with fewer ingredients and a “clean label”, but also foods produced in a manner that minimizes harm to the environment, among other ethical business practices. And it’s not enough to claim your product is healthy or sustainable with just words; to get that much-needed boost in a highly competitive marketplace, many food companies are spending the extra money to obtain third-party certification for various claims. But before jumping on the “seal of approval” bandwagon, it’s important to understand the legal implications of various types of certification. For example, some seals are legally defined and require third-party certification while others are just voluntary.”

EU Food Law Hanbook

EU Food Law Handbook

edited by: B. v.d. Meulen

ISBN: 978-90-8686-246-7
Price:  € 75.00  (excluding VAT)

Today I want to focus your attention on this really amazing “handbook”, that – despite the name – is really  a complete manual about the fundamentals of EU food law (692 pg.). It touches any argument of interest for practitioners and academics and its multidisciplinary approach grants a broad view on the topics.

The book is edited by Prof. Bernd Van der Muelen and see the participation of really good friends and gifted professionals like Martin Holle (Nutrition policy in the European Union), Cecilia Kuhn and Francesco Montanari (Importing food into the EU), Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska and many others.

The twenty-first century has witnessed a fundamental reform of food law in the European Union, to the point where modern EU food law has now come of age. This ‘EU Food Law Handbook’ presents the most significant elements of these legal developments with contributions from a highly qualified team of academics and practitioners. Their analysis is based on a shared vision of the structure and content of EU food law. The book takes the perspective of food law embedded within general EU law. It highlights the consequences of this combination and provides insights into both substantive and procedural food law.
Taking the General Food Law as a focal point, this handbook analyses and explains the institutional, substantive and procedural elements of EU food law. Principles are discussed as well as specific rules addressing food as a product, the processes related to food and communication about food to consumers through labelling. These rules define requirements on subjects like market authorisation for food additives, novel foods and genetically modified foods, food hygiene, tracking & tracing, withdrawal & recall. The powers of public authorities to enforce food law and to deal with incidents are outlined. Attention is given to the international context (WTO, Codex Alimentarius) as well as to private standards.
In addition to the systematic analysis, the book includes selected topics such as nutrition and health policy, special foods, food import requirements, food contact materials, intellectual property and animal feed.
The ‘EU Food Law Handbook’ is produced in co-operation with the European Institute for Food Law. It is relevant for practitioners and academics both with and without a background in law. It is ideal for education purposes.
To buy the book: link.

Food recalls in EU/Week 41


This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have five recalls from consumers in EU in the alert notifications:

Biocontaminants: histamine in canned anchovies in olive oil, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain (via Netherlands), notified by Malta;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes in organic cooked ham and mortadella, following company’s own check. Origin Italy, notified by France, distributed also to Austria, Germany and Hong Kong;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes in organic soft white cheese, following an official control on the market. Origin Denmark, notified by Denmark, distributed also to Germany, Sweden and United Kingdom;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Campylobacter in mixed baby leaves, following company’s own check. Origin Denmark, notified by Denmark, distributed also to Germany;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Dublin in raw milk cheese, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by Denmark.

Between the information for attention, followed by a recall from consumers:

Pathogenic micro organisms: Salmonella enteritidis in chicken breast fillets, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland, notified by Denmark.

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:

Heavy metals: mercury in frozen swordfish, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Spain, distributed also to Italy;

Organoleptic aspects and food additives and flavourings: abnormal smell of and undeclared sulphites in desiccated coconut, following consumer’s complaint. Origin Malaysia (via Romania), notified by Hungary, distributed also to Slovakia;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: too high count of Escherichia Coli in live clams, following an official control on the market. Origin Italy, notified by Italy, distributed also to Spain;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: possible presence of Bacillus anthracis in beef, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland (raw materials from Slovakia), notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes in pate with riesling wine, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Luxembourg;

Pathogenic micro organisms: Salmonella enteritidis in chilled yellow chicken, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Amongst border rejections we have:

aflatoxins in groundnuts from China and India (via Egypt) and in whole nutmegs from Indonesia;

cadmium in frozen mussels from Chile;

Norovirus in in frozen cooked whole white clams from Vietnam;

poor temperature control – rupture of the cold chain of frozen jumbo squid from Peru and of frozen fish, crustaceans and molluscs from Mozambique;

- prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furazolidone (AOZ) in frozen shrimps from India and nitrofurazone (SEM) in frozen catfish from Vietnam;

E 452 – polyphosphates unauthorised in preparation of surimi with Pacific Pollock from the United States;

dithiocarbamates in vine leaves in brine and vine leaves from Turkey;

dithiocarbamates and iprodione in dragon fruits from Vietnam;

- unauthorised substance permethrin in mint from Morocco;

monocrotophos and acephate in frozen okra from India;

omethoate and dimethoate in fresh peas from Kenya;

- unauthorised substance dichlorvos in dried beans from Nigeria;

triazophos in yardlong beans from Cambodia;

- high content of iodine (3200 mg/kg – ppm) in dried seaweed from China;

- chickpeas from Argentina infested with insects.

For feed, we have border rejections for Salmonella spp. in roasted guar meal 40% from India and dried beet pulp from Ukraine infested with moulds.

For food contact materials we have a border rejection for migration of manganese from barbecue plates and grids of enamelled iron and strainers, and migration of nickel from corkscrew from China

Related articles

RASFF recurrent alerts notified by Italy – Mercury in fish


During 2014 the EU Rapid Alert System (RASFF – Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) recorded a relevant number of 62 notifications – sent only from Italy – for large size fish containing heavy metals, mercury in particular.

The countries of origin of the fish are different, but with a clear predominance of Spain, closely followed by Portugal and Vietnam.

This is a useful information for food business operators which purchase fish products from these countries: in order to avoid contaminated lots and the potential sanctions from the controlling authorities, it is strongly suggested to adopt reinforced sampling and testing activities.

Swordfish, tuna and mako shark, are among the main species involved and the values ​​of mercury found by the authorities were very different from one case to another (from 0.7-0.8 mg / kg to 5.4 mg / kg and above): from this risk are exempted canned foods, usually derived from fish of medium size, less exposed to this kind of contamination. It must also be pointed out that the risk arising is not of immediate/acute type, but is more likely a cumulative toxic effect.

Following a request from the European Commission, in 2014 EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) released a Scientific Opinion to assess health benefits and risks associated with the consumption of fish and the potential presence of mercury. The Panel concluded that consumption of about 1‑2 servings of seafood per week and up to 3‑4 servings per week during pregnancy has been associated with better functional outcomes of neurodevelopment in children compared to no consumption of seafood. Such amounts have also been associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease mortality in adults and are compatible with current intakes and recommendations in most of the European countries considered. These associations refer to seafood per se and include beneficial and adverse effects of nutrients and non-nutrients (i.e. including contaminants such as methylmercury) contained in seafood.

So, there is no need to panic, but certainly the high number of RASFF notifications is suggesting to be a bit careful in consuming too much of those species and to strengthen the official controls in this sector. Despite the presence of a real risk for human health, however, it is quite strange the total absence of news about this situation in the main newspapers, often very quick to raise excessive awareness in cases where there is not any risk (i.e. blue mozzarella).

The Italian Ministry of Health advised through its website a moderate consumption of predatory species of large size (1 serving per week of about 100 g, 2 servings for tuna), especially with regard to children and pregnant women, and pointed out that a reason for the peak of notifications to the RASFF is a consequence of the reinforced controls on the market.

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 41)


Here’s my article’s selection for the week:


They’re Making a List, They’re Checking it … 200 times ? : AQSIQ’s Imported Food Blacklist, by Paul O’Brien: China will strenghten official controls on imported foods by implementing a blacklist of food business operators with an history of violations.


Bluetongue disease halts Romania’s live cattle, sheep exports to EU, by Jaroslaw Adamowski, on the Romanian government has decided to halt exports of live cattle and sheep to the EU following the outbreak of bluetongue disease in a number of the country’s counties.

EU on charm offensive as Asean gears up for regulatory harmonisation, by RJ Whitehead, on to a backdrop of the Asean regulatory harmonisation process, a number of European Union officials have descended on Kuala Lumpur to attend a forum designed to apply the older bloc’s knowledge on the subject.

EFSA backs non-digestible carbs for sugar reduction, by Lynda Searby, on EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has delivered positive opinions for two non-digestible carbohydrate ingredients based on their ability to improve blood glucose response.


Top retailers pasting labels with new dates & selling expired products, by Abhitash Singh on some issues in India regarding not authorized extended expiry dates.


Ma announces new food safety office, by Catherine Wei on The China Post: A food safety office will be established in the near future as part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s most recent bid to combat the tainted food scares that have shaken the nation over the past few months.


FDA Asked to Ban Certain Chemicals Used in Pizza Boxes, Other Packaging, on the petitions target perchlorate, which is added to sealing gaskets for food containers and to reduce static in dry food packaging, and a family of chemicals known as long-chain perfluorocarboxylates (PFCs) that keep grease out of paper and paperboard, such as pizza boxes and sandwich wrappers.

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Suspension of GM MON810 maize cultivation in France


Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Marc Tarabella (S&D)

25th August 2014

Subject:  Suspension of MON 810 genetically modified maize

On 1 August, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued an opinion dismissing the use by the French Government of the safeguard clause to ban the cultivation of MON 810 genetically modified maize in France. The EFSA concluded that, in view of the documents provided by France, there was no specific piece of scientific evidence in terms of risk to human or animal health or the environment that would justify the adoption of an emergency measure in respect of the cultivation of MON 810 genetically modified maize.

In Paris, the General Association of Maize Producers (AGPM), affiliated to the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), has noted that the European Food Safety Authority has for the third time invalided the government’s argument invoking the risk of serious and irreversible damage to the environment.

1. Does the Commission intend to follow the EFSA’s opinion (given that it has not always done so in the past)?

2. What about the precautionary principle?

3. If the French Government continues to invoke the safeguard clause, might it take enforcement measures?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission – 10th October 2014

1. Under currently applicable legislation, cultivation bans of maize MON 810 enacted by Member States must be justified by evidence demonstrating that the use of this product is likely to constitute a serious risk to health or to the environment (Article 34 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003). The Commission requested EFSA to examine the scientific elements provided by France to justify their MON810 cultivation ban, and EFSA concluded on 31 July 2014 that there is no specific scientific evidence that would support that emergency measure.

2. Provisions such as Article 34 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 constitute an implementation of the precautionary principle into the GMO legislation. Against this background, it should be underlined that the application of the precautionary principle presupposes that, following an assessment of available information, the possibility of harmful effects on health or on the environment is identified, even if scientific uncertainty persists. This possibility has not been confirmed by EFSA in its scientific opinion.

3. The legal developments in France concerning the ban of the cultivation of maize MON 810 illustrate the need to provide in the legislation other ways to give Member States more flexibility in deciding on GMO cultivation on their territory. That is precisely the objective of the Cultivation proposal made by the Commission in 2010 and which is currently in second reading before the European Parliament and the Council.

(Source: European Parliament)

Hepatitis A in frozen berries: the “silent outbreak” – My article on Meyerlegal newlsetter


First of all, I have to thank Prof. Alfred Hagen Meyer to give me the chance to publish this guest article on his law firm’s newsletter. He is definitely one of the most well recognised specialist in food law and his achievements, as well as his publications, are absolutely impressive both in quality and number. I strongly advise you to visit his website and check regularly for his newsletter and other free publications.

Here you can find a direct link to the current issue of the newsletter, with the full article.


On 8th September 2014, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the final results of its study on the epidemic of hepatitis A (HAV) that, last year, hit Italy and, to a lesser extent, several other European countries and that is thought to have been caused by some mix of frozen berries of Eastern-European origin.

The study, which has been realized also with the support of the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) and of Member States’ experts, has meticulously reconstructed the traceability of the berries that were considered as potentially carriers of the infection. However, as it will be shown, these efforts have not shed light on the causes and on the origin of the contamination.

This seems, to say the least, an undesirable conclusion for one of the biggest and most violent foodborne outbreaks that Europe has witnessed over the last few years (1.444 cases, of which nearly 1.300 in Italy). It also leaves us with two unanswered questions:

  • Why was this outbreak almost ignored by media and risk managers/communicators altogether?
  • Why was it impossible to trace back all the lots involved and, ultimately, identify the source of the contamination?

By trying to answer these questions, we will also try to highlight the reasons why this very outbreak should be considered an important stress test for the European food safety system as a whole.

EU Conference on food frauds


On 23-24 October 2014 I will be in Rome, at the Italian Ministry of Health (via Giorgio Ribotta, 5), to follow a fundamental two days event about the food fraud issue, organised with the joint effort of the Ministry and the EU Commission.

The prime objective of this conference is to raise the profile of Economically Motivated Violations (EMV) of food law as a major global challenge and to promote and expand interdisciplinary collaboration and communication by providing a platform to those parties involved in fighting EMV, ranging from leading food control and judicial authorities to industry and consumers stakeholders.

Here you can find more information about the event: link.

The program and the speakers’ level are absolutely impressive:

Thursday, 23rd October 2014:

13:00 – 14:00 Registration and Buffet lunch
14:00 – 14:30 Opening remarks Italian Minister/E Poudelet – Director, Safety of Food Chain, European Commission, DG Health and Consumers
Session 1 – Food Fraud Overview – EU and National Perspectives
14:30 – 14:40Chair/Moderator Introduction – Marabelli/Borrello (Italian Ministry of Health)
14:40 – 15:404 Speakers – 15 minutes for each presentation to address the following topics:

  • What is food fraud? – (An overview of the concept of fraud, laws and regulations; extension of the problem, etc. Could also include an overview of major incidents and current threats to brand and consumer protection, financial implications, etc.) – Francesco Lo Voi (Eurojust)
  • The EU perspective (An overview of European Commission’s policy initiatives) – Carmen Garau (Head of Unit, European Commission, DG Health and Consumers)
  • Glenn Taylor (Hampshire County Council, UK )
  • Stefano Vaccari (Ministry of Agriculture, IT)
15:40 – 16:10Debate with speakers – Q&A
16:10 – 16:30Coffee break
Session 2 – Industry and Consumer Perspectives
16:30 – 16:40Chair/Moderator Introduction – Eric Poudelet (Director, European Commission, DG Health and Consumers)
16:40 – 17:102 speakers, 15 minutes each to present industry and consumer experience and views:

  • Global Food Safety Initiative’s (GFSI) cutting-edge information and experiences on food fraud – Yves Rey (Corporate Quality Manager Danone)
  • The European Consumer Organisation’s (BEUC) expectations and views
17:10 – 17:30Debate with speakers – Q&A
17:30 – 17:40Closing first day of conference

Friday, 24th October 2014:

Session 3 – Needs and Options for a Collaborative Approach / Case Studies
9:30 – 9:40Chair/Moderator Introduction – Eric Marin (Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, DG Health and Consumers)
9:40 – 10:253 speakers, 15 minutes each to present, including 2 case studies to take a more in-depth look at the food fraud challenges and explore new ideas to expand the experts’ connections/network:

  • Collaborative approach – Professor Chris Elliott (Queen’s University, Belfast, UK)
  • 1st case – Michael Rosenmark (Danish Flying Squad)
  • 2nd case – C.P.M. de Bouter (Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority)
10:25 – 10:55Debate with speakers – Q&A
10:55 – 11:10Coffee break
11:10 – 11:20Chair/Moderator Introduction- Silvio Borrello (Italian Ministry of Health)
11:20 – 12:053 speakers (15 minute each) – Continuation of previous session

  • 3rd case – Gen. Cosimo Piccinno (NAS)
  • 4th case – Andreas Rossa (German Prosecution)
  • 5th case – Cathérine Collinet (French Brigades)
12:05 – 12:35Debate with speakers – Q&A
12:35 – 14:30Buffet lunch for participants
Session 4 – Improving Methodologies
14:30 – 14:40Chair/Moderator Introduction – Joao Onofre (European Commission, DG Agriculture)
14:40 – 15:253 speakers, 15 minutes each, on the following topics:

  • Cooperation between laboratories and validation of techniques. – Elke Anklam (Joint Research Centre)
  • Vulnerability assessment and approaches to Food Fraud prevention – John Spink (Michigan State University, USA)
  • The EU FOODINTEGRITY Project – Paul Brereton (Food and Environment Research Agency, UK)
15:25 – 15:55Debate with speakers – Q&A
15:55 – 16:05Conference Close
16:05 – 16:20Conclusions – Italian Presidency
16:20 – 16:40Closing remarks
I hope to meet some of you there!

US – Food service company recalls 150 products for potential Listeria contamination


Next time a firm does not want to activate a recall  for Listeria contamination, I will try to bring this case as an example of the different behavior US firms have towards food recalls and respect for consumers. Anyway, it won’t be a joke managing such a recall!

A food service company in North Carolina issues a recall for products of several brands currently on the market.

SunBurst Foods of Goldsboro is voluntarily recalling all of its SunBurst, Fresh Bites and Private labeled products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The products being recalled were sold in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.

This recall was initiated as a result of sampling and testing performed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Listeria cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. To date, SunBurst is unaware of any illnesses related to these products.

Products not manufactured but distributed by SunBurst such as cakes, burritos, and chips are not part of this recall.

All codes, all sell-by dates and sizes of SunBurst and Fresh Bites brands are being recalled.

Private label products are identified by the following brand names: River Edge Farms, CFW, Southern Zest, CJ’s Vending, Binford Street Deli, Middle Georgia Vendors, Roanoke Foods, Select Foods, and Jesse Jones (Double Chili Dogs).

Consumers who have purchased the affected products are urged to destroy them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company between 8AM and 5PM EST at 1-919-778-2151.

MFG Code Description UPC Wt. (oz.)
1038 Bologna & Cheese 7-01248-00302-9 3.00
1563 Chicken Salad on Wheat 7-01248-00809-3 4.00
105 Chicken Salad on White 7-01248-00104-9 4.00
638 Combo Sandwich (Ham, Bologna & Cheese) 7-01248-00532-0 4.00
117 Egg Salad 7-01248-00116-2 3.30
1035 Ham & Cheese on Wheat 7-01248-00827-7 3.00
1034 Ham & Cheese on White 7-01248-00301-2 3.00
115 Pimento Cheese 7-01248-00114-8 3.50
101 Shaved Ham & Cheese 7-01248-00100-1 4.00
258 Thick Bologna & Cheese 7-01248-00913-7 4.50
637 Turkey & Swiss On Wheat 7-01248-00531-3 4.00
111 Turkey on Wheat 7-01248-00110-0 3.40
1712 Chicken, Egg and Cheese Biscuit 7-01248-01003-4 6.10
121 Country Link Sausage (on bun) 7-01248-00120-9 3.50
652 Fried Bologna & Egg on Bun 7-01248-00804-8 5.40
607 Jumbo Breakfast (Sausage, Ham, Egg & Ch. on bun) 7-01248-00507-8 5.25
131 Sausage & Egg (on bun)                 7-01248-00130-8 3.75
623 Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissant 7-01248-00523-8 5.00
125 Twin Ham Biscuits 7-01248-00124-7 2.50
125 Twin Ham Biscuits 7-01248-00124-7 3.00
127 Twin Sausage Biscuits 7-01248-00126-1 3.50
1049 Cheese Cubes with Crackers (Vac Pack) 7-01248-00160-5 3.50
618 Deli Ham and Cheese 7-01248-00518-4 6.00
166 Ham & Turkey Hoagie 7-01248-00148-3 5.30
237 Philly-Style Cheese Steak 7-01248-00194-0 5.75
1648 Two 1/2 Foot Ham & Turkey Sub 7-01248-00939-7 11.30
1659 Two 1/2 Foot Turkey & Cheese Hoagies 7-01248-00950-2 11.50
1761 Bacon Cheese Burger 7-01248-01049-2 3.50
294 Barbecue Beef 7-01248-00176-6 4.30
162 Barbecue Chicken (on bun) 7-01248-00144-5 4.60
1037 Cheeseburger 7-01248-00306-7 3.50
168 Chicken Fillet w/ Swiss Ch. (on bun) 7-01248-00150-6 5.50
158 Double Cheeseburger 7-01248-00140-7 5.20
650 Double Chili Dogs 7-01248-00802-4 6.40
275 Fried Bologna Sandwich (on bun) 7-01248-00329-6 3.80
1758 Fried Chicken Leg Quarter w/ Bone on Bread 7-01248-01046-1 7.00
284 Fried Chicken w/ Bone Sandwich 7-01248-00333-3 9.50
1760 Fried Red Hot Link w/ Cheese on Bun 7-01248-01048-5 3.50
1048 Gourmet Sub (Ham, Bologna & Cheese) 7-01248-00307-4 4.00
1590 Grilled Cheese 7-01248-00883-3 1.65
270 Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich 7-01248-00156-8 3.00
1591 Hamburger 7-01248-00884-0 3.00
1762 Ham and Cheese on Bun 7-01248-01050-8 3.70
1769 Hot Smoked Sausage on Bun 7-01248-01057-7 4.00
653 Pork Ribette (on Bun) 7-01248-00805-5 6.00
1042 Sausage Dog 7-01248-00337-1 4.25
286 Single All Beef Hot Dog 7-01248-00172-8 2.50
285 Single Hot Dog w/ Chili 7-01248-00800-0 3.10
283 Single Plain Hot Dog 7-01248-00837-6 2.10
1597 Skippy Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly w/ White Bread 7-01248-01114-7 1.50
123 Smoking Joe (Smoked Sausage on bread) 7-01248-00122-3 5.25
1649 Spicy Chicken Sandwich 7-01248-00940-3 5.10
1655 Deluxe Caesar Salad 7-01248-00946-5 3.25
1653 Deluxe Chef Salad 7-01248-00944-1 5.10
1654 Deluxe Garden Salad 7-01248-00945-8 5.80
1596 Deluxe Italian Salad 7-01248-00927-4 5.50
1792 BBQ Chicken on 100% Wheat Roll w/ Baby Carrots                          7-01248-01077-5 7.80
1619 Chicken Finger Sub w/ Potato Wedges 7-01248-00903-8 8.75
1632 Chicken Salad Croissant 7-01248-00918-2 5.75
1664 Ham & Cheese Omelet on Toast w/ Hash Brown 7-01248-00955-7 7.25
1630 Ham & Swiss on Sourdough    7-01248-00916-8 6.10
1666 Ham & Swiss on Sourdough w/ Baby Carrots                    7-01248-00957-1 10.30
1620 Jumbo Chili Cheese Burger w/Potato Wedges 7-01248-00904-5 9.75
1636 Potato Wedges 7-01248-00924-3 5.50
1670 Sausage & Egg on Croissant w/ Hash Brown Patty 7-01248-00961-8 7.00
1740 Caesar Salad                      7-01248-01028-7 3.25
1719 Chicken Finger Sub w/ Honey Mustard Sauce 7-01248-01015-7 5.35
1716 Deluxe Chicken Salad on Toast 7-01248-01019-5 5.00
1739 Garden Salad 7-01248-01027-0 5.80
1715 Ham & Cheese Club 7-01248-01018-8 6.50
1728 Ham & Turkey on Multi Grain 7-01248-01016-4 10.00
1714 Turkey & Swiss on 12 Grain 7-01248-01017-1 6.75
1821 Bologna and  Cheese on White 7-01248-01106-2 4.80
1818 Chicken Salad on Wheat 7-01248-01102-4 4.30
1817 Chicken Salad on White 7-01248-01101-7 4.30
1819 Egg Salad on White 7-01248-01103-1 3.30
1811 Ham and Cheese on Wheat 7-01248-01095-9 3.80
1812 Ham and Cheese on White 7-01248-01096-6 3.80
1815 Pimento Cheese on White 7-01248-01099-7 4.30
1807 Turkey and Cheese on Wheat 7-01248-01091-1 3.80
1806 Turkey and Cheese on White 7-01248-01090-4 3.80
1803 All American Hoagie w/ Turkey, Ham, Bologna & Cheese 7-01248-01087-4 7.75
1587 BBQ Pork on Bun 7-01248-00880-2 5.35
1823 Bologna and Cheese Sub 7-01248-01108-6 6.75
1775 Buffalo Chicken Salad on 100% Whole Wheat Roll 7-01248-01061-4 5.50
1810 Deli Ham and Cheese on Marble Rye 7-01248-01094-2 5.55
1777 Deluxe Chicken Salad on 100% Whole Wheat Roll 7-01248-01063-8 4.30
1814 Grilled Chicken on Croissant 7-01248-01098-0 6.00
1822 Grilled Chicken on Pretzel Roll 7-01248-01107-9 7.50
1774 Ham and Cheddar on 100% Whole Wheat Roll 7-01248-01060-7 5.30
1813 Ham and Cheese Croissant                         7-01248-01097-3 5.50
1798 Ham and Cheese Pretzel Roll 7-01248-01082-9 7.00
1824 Ham and Cheese Sub 7-01248-01109-3 6.75
1827 Oven Roasted Turkey and Cheese on Wheat Sub 7-01248-01112-3 6.50
1797 Oven Roasted Turkey Breast on Pretzel Roll 7-01248-01081-2 6.75
1773 Sunrise Sandwich (French Toast, Sausage & Egg)     7-01248-01059-1 3.60
1804 Turkey and Provolone on Marble Rye 7-01248-01088-1 4.55
1820 Turkey and Provolone on Whole Wheat Sub 7-01248-01104-8 8.00
1776 Turkey and Swiss on 100% Whole Wheat                       7-01248-01062-1 5.25
1808 Turkey and Swiss on Croissant 7-01248-01092-8 5.50
1809 Turkey and Swiss Sub 7-01248-01093-5 6.75
1780 Blazing Sausage Dog 7-01248-01065-2 5.50
1825 Fried Chicken Strips Hero 7-01248-01110-9 5.80
1793 Ham and Cheese Omelet on Toast     7-01248-01078-2 5.25
1795 Jumbo Bacon Cheeseburger 7-01248-01080-5 5.20
1794 Junior Bacon Cheeseburger 7-01248-01079-9 3.40
1787 Turkey Breast & Bacon on Wheat (Wedge) 7-01248-01072-0 4.80
1729 Apple Cobbler 7-01248-01041-6 3.75
1749 Blueberry Crunch Cake 7-01248-01037-9 4.50
1750 Cherry Crunch Cake 7-01248-01038-6 4.50
1738 Jello with Fruit 7-01248-01026-3 7.50
659 Peach Cobbler 7-01248-00848-2 5.10
648 Strawberry Shortcake   7-01248-00549-8 5.25
1752 Strawberry Yogurt & Granola 7-01248-01040-9 8.50
1784 Broccoli & Cauliflower with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing 7-01248-01069-0 2.50
1785 Carrots with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing 7-01248-01070-6 2.50
1786 Celery with Peanut Butter 7-01248-01071-3 2.50
1783 Grapes 7-01248-01068-3 4.50
1789 Honeydew Melon 7-01248-01074-4 3.75
1788 Pineapple 7-01248-01073-7 3.75
1782 Strawberries 7-01248-01067-6 2.50
1790 Watermelon                     7-01248-01075-1 3.75
1518 Cheesy Eggs w/ Link Sausage & Dinner Roll 7-01248-00619-8 7.50
1506 French Toast w/ Sausage 7-01248-00607-5 4.00
1582 Ham Omelet w Dinner Roll 7-01248-00855-0 5.80
1528 Pancake w/ Sausage 7-01248-00628-0 4.50
1508 Sausage & Egg w/ Rice 7-01248-00609-9 7.50
1551 Western Omelet           7-01248-00650-1 8.25
1522 Caesar Salad 7-01248-00623-5 3.25
1502 Chef Salad 7-01248-00603-7 5.10
280 Garden Salad 7-01248-00323-4 5.80
1651 Chicken Tenders 7-01248-00942-7 8.00
1537 Chili Mac                                                                 7-01248-00639-6 7.50
1572 Lasagna 7-01248-00818-5 10.00
1717 Macaroni & Cheese w/ Smoked Sausage 7-01248-01020-5 7.50
1560 Robust Spaghetti w/ Meat Sauce 7-01248-00806-2 8.00
1562 Zesty Chicken Parmigiana w/ Spaghetti 7-01248-00808-6 9.50

Food recalls in EU/Week 40 – 2014


This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have five recalls from consumers in EU in the alert notifications:

- Allergens: undeclared soia in pasta e wholemeal pasta moose-shaped, following company’s own check. Origin Sweden (via Germany), notified by Spain, distributed also to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, United Kingdom and United States;

Allergens: traces of egg in chocolate fudge cake kit, following a consumer complaint. Origin United Kingdom, notified by Ireland;

- Biotoxins: Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins – okadaic acid in canned mussels, following company’s own check. Origin Spain, notified by France;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in soft white brie cheese made from goat milk, following company’s own check. Origin Denmark, notified by Denmark, distributed also to Sweden;

Pesticide residues: fenamiphos in red grapefruits, following company’s own check. Origin Zimbabwe (via South Africa and the Netherlands), notified by Denmark, distributed also to Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Norway.

Between the information for attention, followed by a recall from consumers:

- Food additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphites in soup stocks, following an official control on the market. Origin China, notified by United Kingdom.

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:

Composition: unauthorised substance 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (nor-DMAA) in food supplement, following company’s own check. Origin Canada (via the Netherlands), notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland;

Foreign bodies: glass fragments in potato starch, following a consumer complaint. Origin Poland, notified by Poland, distributed also to Germany;

- Heavy metals: mercury in frozen blue shark slice, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Italy;

Heavy metals: mercury in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin Hong Kong (China, via the Netherlands), notified by Sweden.

Packaging defective/incorrect: bulging packaging of canned olives, following company’s own check. Origin Spain, notified by Italy:

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in camembert cheese, following company’s own check. Origin Denmark, notified by Denmark, distributed also to Germany and Sweden;

- Pesticide residues: carbendazim, omethoate, dimethoate and thiophanate-methyl in grapes, following company’s own check. Origin Tunisia, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Poland and Russia.

Amongst border rejections we have:

aflatoxins in peanuts from China and in apricot kernels from Uzbekistan, via Afghanistan;

- too high content of sulphite in dried apricots from Turkey and in sliced coconut from Lebanon;

- unauthorised substance dichlorvos in dried beans from Nigeria;

- cinnamon from Indonesia and salted horse casings from Argentina infested with moulds and insects;

- residue level above MRL for oxytetracycline in frozen seafood mix and frozen squid and shrimps skewer from Vietnam;

-  triazophos, acetamiprid, and imidacloprid in tea from Hong Kong;

benzo(a)pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in non-refined soybean oil from Ukraine;

- prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) in frozen catfish from Vietnam.

For feed, we have border rejections for aflatoxins in birdfeed groundnuts from Brazil and Salmonella spp. in fishmeal from the United States. 

For food contact materials we have a border rejection for migration of primary aromatic amines from nylon serving tongs from China.

Related articles

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 40)


Here’s my article’s selection for the week:


Sri Lanka suspends sale of Fonterra milk powder batches over illnesses, by Mark Astley+ , on Sri Lanka has suspended the sale of three batches of Fonterra-made Anchor milk powder after complaints of illness in children. The company is heavily criticizing the testing methods adopted by Authorities.


Chocolate for the summertime: Hershey develops heat resistant chocolate, by Oliver Nieburg+, on Hershey has developed its own method to produce chocolate that can withstand hot climates following similar moves from Mondelēz, Mars and Nestlé.


UK’s traffic light label is ‘negative’, says Commission, by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , 06-Oct-2014, on the UK’s traffic light label has incited more objections than the Nordic keyhole system because the former is more negative in its nutrition guidance, says the European Commission.

Horsemeat rears its head again, as firm is fined £5,000, by Laurence Gibbons+, on Horsemeat has reared its head again after food import firm Expo Foods Ltd was fined £5,000, yesterday (October 2), after its pork sausagemeat was found to contain nearly 50% horsemeat.

Does ‘history of safe consumption’ mean foods are safe?, by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , on proposals to create a separate process for novel food approval from countries outside of the EU will not see the market flooded with unsafe foods, a European Commission official told a concerned audience at a European Parliament workshop.

Hot political potatoes: DG SANCO head talks suspended caffeine and bowel botanical claims, by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , on the pending health claims for caffeine and bowel-function botanical hydroxyanthracene are the “hot potatoes” being dealt with by EFSA and the European Commission, according to the head of the Commission’s unit for nutrition, food composition and information (DG SANCO).


McDonald’s Japan forecasts big 2014 loss after food safety scare, on facing tough competition from domestic convenience stores, McDonald’s Japan had been suffering from weak demand even before the food safety scare, in which a major Chinese supplier of chicken meat was found to be in breach of safety standards. Now the company is also under pressure in Russia, where McDonald’s it is under the aim of retorsive measures for the economic sanctions imposed by Western countries.


MEPS demand more action to stop spread of ASF, by Méabh McMahon, in Brussels, on the European Commission’s response to Europe’s African swine fever (ASF) crisis was criticised at the European Parliament yesterday (Tuesday 7 October) for being too weak.


Is a new organization to define “natural” a good idea?, by Michele Simon, on a point of view about the discussed and abused term “natural” in US:


Written Q&A to EU Commission – Admissible ethyl ester levels in extra virgin olive oil


Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
David Borrelli (EFDD) – 5th September 2014

Subject:  Admissible ethyl ester levels in extra virgin olive oil

Under Regulation (EC) No 2568/91 of 11 July 1991, most recently amended by implementing Regulation (EU) No 299/2013 of 26 March 2013, the maximum admissible ethyl ester content of extra virgin olive oil is 75 mg/kg.

However, Italian legislation stipulates a maximum ethyl ester content of 10-15 mg/kg, i.e. seven times lower than EU limit.

Clearly the higher EU upper limit is detrimental to the quality of extra virgin olive oil, making it possible to market even a substandard product as prime quality oil, mixing it with recycled oil, while still meeting the generous upper limit for ethyl ester content.

1. Does the Commission agree that the upper limit for fatty acid methyl and ethyl esters for the marketing of extra virgin olive oil is excessively high?

2. What measures will it take to have the regulation amended so as to reduce these limits?

Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission – 26th September 2014

Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 defines the chemical and organoleptic characteristics of olive and olive-pomace oil and lays down methods of assessing those characteristics.

The above Regulation was last amended by Regulation (EU) No 1348/2013 which mainly introduced new limit values for the characteristics of oils on the basis of the opinion of chemical experts and in line with the work carried out within the International Olive Council (IOC).

Thereby, former limits of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) and fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) (75 mg/kg) have been replaced by limits for fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) only, based on the crop year and which are the following:

FAEEs – 40 mg/kg (2013-2014 crop year)
FAEEs – 35 mg/kg (2014-2015 crop year)
FAEEs – 30 mg/kg (after 2015 crop year)

These limits are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all Member States as from 1 March 2014.

(Source: European Parliament)

FVO report – India – Contaminants and residues


This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in India, carried out from 3 to 14 March 2014, as part of the published programme of FVO audits.

The objective of the audit was to evaluate the performance of competent authorities and other officially authorised entities in their implementation of official controls concerning residues and contaminants in live animals and animal products, in order to assess whether these controls offer adequate assurance that the products and animals concerned, eligible for export to the European Union (EU) do not contain residues of veterinary medicinal products, pesticides and contaminants at concentrations in excess of EU maximum limits. Since the authorisation, distribution and use of veterinary medicinal products and feed additives have an impact on the monitoring of residues, the national rules governing the control systems in these areas were also part of the audit. In addition, attention was paid to examining the implementation of corrective actions promised in response to recommendations made in the report of the previous FVO residues audit in India (DG(SANCO)/2011/8861 MR-Final) in May 2011.

Overall, it is concluded that guarantees provided by the residue control system for aquaculture products in India are, with some exceptions, broadly equivalent to those foreseen by EU legislation. The residue monitoring plan is implemented in accordance with planned arrangements and in line with EU rules and meets minimum requirements laid down in EU legislation (for testing of aquaculture shrimp but not finfish). However a relatively narrow range of substances is tested for and no account is taken of the range of substances actually used in fish and shrimp production in the country. As such, guarantees on the residues status of aquaculture products rely to a large extent on the additional pre-harvest and pre-export testing programmes in place and these mitigate to a certain extent the long-standing deficiencies in official controls on farms, and in particular, an almost total absence of official controls on the use of veterinary medicinal products. Nevertheless, the relatively narrow range of substances tested for in those additional programmes also weakens the reliability of those guarantees. With regard to the follow-up of non-compliant results, some improvements have been noted relative to 2011 (for example progress made on the registration of farms), nevertheless, it remains the case that follow-up at primary producer level to identify the root cause of the non compliance is ‘delegated’ almost fully to export establishments which is not in line with EU requirements.

Concerning laboratories, improvements in performance have been noted relative to 2011, though certain deficiencies in quality control and ensuring the analytical integrity of samples have the potential to undermine the effectiveness of the residue monitoring plan.

With regard to veterinary medicinal products, the system for authorisation of, and controls on veterinary medicinal products is deficient in many respects compared to the EU system. Improvements have been made relative to 2011 (introduction of labelling legislation) however, the many non-compliances identified by the audit team in this respect and overall poor awareness and enforcement of the legislation collectively weaken the effectiveness of the residue control system.

Rome – 27th October 2014 – Practical Seminar on FIC Regulation (Reg. EU 1169/2011)

On 27th October I will be in Rome for the following practical seminar on Food Information to Consumer Regulation, organized in cooperation with Certiquality.

The course will be at CENTRO CONGRESSI CAVOUR – VIA CAVOUR 50/A – 00184 Roma, a five minutes walk from Termini Railway Station and Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
 Roma Chiesa SantaMariaMaggiore facciata
The program will be the following:
9.15 The Regulation EU 1169/2011:

- main principles and changes to the food labelling regimes;

- possibility for Member States to adopt national measures;

10.45      coffee-break

11.00   Mandatory information and presentation

- allergens and cross-contamination issues

- legibility and presentation

- other mandatory information

- origin: the state of art

12.30   brunch

13.30  Nutrition declaration and voluntary indications (Claims):

- nutrition declaration: UK traffic light case study

- nutrition and health claims: a brief explanation of the two different regimes

15.15   coffee-break

15.30   Art. 7-8 Reg. EU 1169/2011, responsibilities, fair information practices and controls:

-  Responsibilities (art. 8 Reg. 1169/2011)

- Fair information practices (art. 7 Reg. 1169/2011)

- sanctions and official controls structure

16.30   Practical exercise (label compilation)

17.30   Final test

18.00  End of the course

CERTIQUALITY is a Certification Body, accredited to provide enterprises with certification services covering Quality, Environmental and Safety Management Systems, as well as Product Certification. CERTIQUALITY also operates on Food Safety, on auditing Data Security in the EDP systems, and on Professional Training.
Certiquality partakes IQnet(International Certification Network) and issued certifications across Europe, as well as in many other non-European countries.

I hope to see you there!


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