In this report is considered milk and milk as ingredients in dairy products. The types of meat concerned are fresh and frozen meat from horses, rabbits, reindeer and deer, from farmed and wild game, as well from birds other than chicken, turkey, ducks, geese and guinea fowls.
Also in this case, the most recommended option is voluntary labelling.
Here’s the conclusions of the report:
“Currently for the foods under the remit of this report consumers may, if they so wish, opt for milk or meat products where origin information is voluntarily provided for by food business operators. This can be a suitable option without imposing additional burden on the industry and the authorities. Mandatory origin labelling would entail higher regulatory burden for most of the products assessed in the report and therefore, the question at stake is to assess whether the balance between costs and benefits is such that it would justify its mandatory indication.
Additional findings that emerge from this report are that:
– In spite of a consumers’ interest for the origin of milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and for meats under the remit of this report, consumers’ overall willingness to pay for this information appears to be modest.
– When mandatory origin labelling scenarios are considered, consumers seem to express preference for this indication to be made at Member State’s level.
– Although the cost of labelling the origin of milk could be generally modest, its impact among operators will be uneven with some of them having to introduce additional traceability systems with substantial increases of costs, particularly those located in border regions or in areas non-self-sufficient in milk.
– The study shows that the mandatory origin labelling of milk used as an ingredient in dairy products can result in adverse economic impacts, further 14 traceability requirements and would be burdensome for highly processed products.
– There will be additional operational costs to impose mandatory origin labelling for the meats under the remit of this report.”
As often in these cases we face the so called “consumer’s paradox”: they want more and more information, but they are not ready to pay more for having them…
(Source: DG Agri website)
In the following answer to the written question of the Italian MEP Nicola Caputo, Commissioner Andriukaitis seems to close definitely the doors to the option of a EU level introduction of the mandatory indication of the production site or packaging center on the food labels. This kind of indication was mandatory in Italy under the former EU regime (Directive 2000/13/EC) and the subsequent national implementing act (Legislative Decree 109/1992) in addition to the business name and the address of the FBO responsible.
If Italy wants to reintroduce this indication, should notify the Commission the legislative proposal, also if the road seems paved of difficulties. In light of the Union’s concept of “origin” (expressed in the Custom Code), it is not easy to sustain the request, as well as on the ground of safety and traceability. The traceability is guaranteed by other means and also under the old national regime the factories with a health mark (Reg. UE 853/2004 and 854/2004) were exempted by this mandatory indication, as well as the prepacked foods coming from other EU countries and sold in Italy as such. It was therefore clear the intent to pursue public health with other means and to not hinder the trade of goods on the common market.
The Italian competent Ministries intention is to notify a measure to the EU Commission, with the aim to reintroduce the additional mandatory indication, but the legal and political conundrum seems challenging.
Question for written answer to the Commission – Nicola Caputo (S&D) – 11 March 2015
Subject: Indication of the production site on labels
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, in force since December 2014, does not establish, in a European context, an obligation to show the production site on food labels.
This fact is another ‘lost opportunity’ in the defence of ‘made in’ labels on food, with obvious negative impacts on the role of European — and, in particular, Italian — food transformation and production outside national borders, raising serious questions about traceability from the moment of production.
Not even a re-introduction of this obligation only within national borders can be conclusive, further fragmenting the internal market.
On the other hand, products of animal origin (meat and meat products) have always shown the production site on the label, in compliance with EU rules on food hygiene.
Therefore, it is desirable to apply this requirement to all Member States, in order to provide full information to the consumer and promote Italian production.
That said, can the Commission say how it intends to include a measure and harmonise rules so as to defend the ‘made in’ labels on food products?
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 6 May 2015
Directive 2000/13/EC(1), which was repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011(2) as of 13 December 2014, allowed Member States to retain national provisions which require indication of the factory or packaging centre, in respect of home production, on the labelling of foods.(3)
During the negotiations that led to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, one Member State proposed the introduction of a similar requirement at Union level. Although supported by the Commission, this suggestion was not endorsed by the other Member States. Eventually, the co-legislators decided to make compulsory on the package or on a label attached thereto only the name or business name and address of the food business operator under whose name or business name the food is marketed or, if that operator is not established in the Union, the importer into the Union market.(4)
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 further clarified that the name, business name or address of the food business operator on the label does not constitute an indication of origin within the meaning of the regulation.(5) Furthermore, it set out specific requirements concerning the origin of foods. However, it does not empower the Commission to proceed to a harmonised measure as requested by the Honourable Member.
(Source: EU Parliament)
Frutarom BU Health, Switzerland, launches its new superberry ingredient, IncaberrixTM. The water-soluble extract, rich in phytonutrients, is prepared from the ancient Andean physalis fruit (Physalis peruviana), also known as Inca berry, cape gooseberry or golden berry.
Inca berry is considered one of the “lost” crops of the Incans. It is native to the Andes, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. Many traditional Andean foods have an historic association with improved health and longevity. Maca and quinoa are examples of Andean staple crops rich in phytonutrients that became recognized as “super foods” in recent years.
“Now is the time for Inca golden berries,” states Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom Health. “The concentrated nutrient value adds health benefits, combined with fun and an exotic touch, to a wide range of food applications. But the sweet and tart berry’s primary category is beverages, including soft drinks, nutritional beverages and more. We strive to lead in market innovation by developing such natural ingredients that can both lead food and beverage trends and support health.”
Incaberrix is particularly rich in B-complex vitamins, protein and minerals such as iron, zinc and phosphorus. It also is high in vitamin C and carotenoids. Recent tests in Frutarom Innovation Center show that clear, water-soluble Incaberrix is stable in beverage applications.
“Superberry ingredients such as Incaberrix are attractive ingredients for product developers and manufacturers seeking to add value to their food and beverage products,” notes Capelle. ”The introduction of this new superberry extract by Frutarom is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to comprehensively serve the functional product market through our group synergies and goals. Incaberrix is another example of how Frutarom combines its strength in developing exotic flavors with healthy ingredients to offer its clients innovative, great-tasting product concepts,” concludes Capelle.
On 27th May I will be in Rome, invited by the analytical lab Chriva, for a full day practical course on the new Regulation (EU) n. 1169/2011 on food information to consumers and the latest updates about the implementation at national level of some specific rules on allergens and non prepacked foods. The session will be rich of examples and interaction with participants.
The second part of the course will be focused on the main source of non compliance, not only related to foodstuffs, but also to contaminants, microbiological contamination, foreign bodies etc. and some hints about to manage critical situation and food recalls notice.
You can download the brochure and find more info here. Language of the course: Italian. For the readers from foreign countries I remember that I can organize also sessions via webinar/distance learning.
Question for written answer to the Commission
Dietmar Köster (S&D) – 16th February 2015
Subject: ‘Provisional application’ of the CETA
Many ordinary Europeans are concerned about the implications of the CETA and TTIP free trade agreements.
It recently emerged that as a result of a ‘provisional application’ decision by the European Council sections of the CETA will become binding under international law even though they have not been approved by the parliaments of the EU Member States.
1. Which sections of the agreement are involved?
2. Do these include the provisions on ISDS?
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission – 27th April 2015
Article 218(5) of the TFEU attributes to the Council the possibility to decide on the provisional application of international agreements to be concluded by the Union.
For the time being, none of the provisions of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada are being provisionally applied as the text of the agreement is being legally revised.
The Council will take a decision on the signature of CETA on the basis of a proposal from the Commission and, if warranted, will also decide on its provisional application.
It is important to note in this context that Commissioner Malmström has declared in writing to the INTA Committee that, ‘(e)ven if the power to decide on provisional application lies with the Council, (…) I am ready, when proposing decisions to sign politically important trade agreements which fall under my responsibility, to ask the Council to delay provisional application until the European Parliament has given its consent’. It is also to be noted that, in recent years, several important trade agreements were provisionally applied only after the European Parliament had given its consent.
(Source: EU Parliament)
The Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy is an established one-week summer programme that brings together practitioners, policymakers, industry representatives and leading academics working in the field of food law and policy. It offers intensive training on the most innovative developments in global food regulation and provides a unique opportunity for professional development and networking in an informal and inter-disciplinary setting. By talking, studying and interacting with food experts from all over the world, participants are able to gain new perspectives into both their own sectors and international regulatory issues. This is achieved by combining traditional classroom instruction with experiential learning opportunities offered by dedicated and distinguished international experts.
The Academy will take place from Monday, 20th July, to Friday, 24th July, 2015 in Bilbao, Spain.
Among the many topics covered this year stand out food frauds, the obesity challenge, the TTIP under discussion between Europe and the USA and the marketing restrictions to “unhealthy foods”.
As leading expert in the field of fraud prevention along the supply chain, I was named as a speaker for a presentation entitled “Rethinking How to Regulate Food Frauds” and to chair a panel discussion with Prof. Neal Fortin, Director of the ‘”Institute for Food Law and Regulations” at Michigan State University, and Gilles Boin, food lawyer at the renowned French law firm “Product Law Firm”, which will give a more extensive presentation on food fraud legislative framework.
Amongst the other speakers:
Alberto Alemanno: Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris and Scholar at the O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University.
Wenche Barth Eide: Emeritus Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo.
Enrico Bonadio: Senior Lecturer in Law, City University London (City Law School).
Asbjørn Eide: Emeritus professor and senior fellow at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo.
Hilal Elver: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
Richard A. Falk: Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus at Princeton University.
Simone Gabbi: Legal Department European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Amandine Garde: Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool.
Giovanni Gruni: Oxford University
Pelle Guldborg Hansen: Director of ISSP The Initiative of Science, (Society & Policy at Roskilde University and University of Southern Denmark); member of the Prevention Council of the Danish Diabetes Association and Chairman of the Danish Nudging Network.
Francesco Tramontin: Director External Affairs, “Mondelez” Europe.
Paolo R. Vergano: Partner at “Fratini Vergano”, Brussels.
The deadline to apply is 31st May 2015.
From 5th to 9th May 2015 I will be in the sunny Asuncion, Paraguay, for a series of conferences about food regulations.
On 5th I will be at the National University, Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, to present the new EU Regulation on food information to consumer (No 1169/2011), with specific attention for allergens and nutrition declaration. Download the brochure here.
On 7th I will be very pleased to open the II Expo Alimentaria and the first Food Law Conference at the Hotel Excelsior. Paraguay is on the way to review its regulatory framework and to implement a Food Code inspired by EU and US standards: the objective is to ease the export of the national products. My speech will touch some general aspects about the EU and US food regulations, in light of the fact that with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) the two systems are converging on some specific principles, on food allergens labelling and some hints about how the food recalls are managed. You can find the complete program here.
I was invited by ASPATAL (Paraguayan Association of Food Technologists), and I have to deeply thank you Prof. Griselda Miranda Pena for inviting me.
See you there!
If the explosion of the infamous “Horsemeat Scandal” was greeted at first with disbelief and barely concealed laughter from the public and media, the following concern for a public health risk revealed itself in a short time as completely not founded. None of these two reactions seem to be triggered by what could be the next food fraud scandal on a global scale.
The affected product, in this case, are spices (especially cumin, paprika and various mix) which, at a level not yet identified of the supply chain, have been adulterated with crushed almond shells, with the clear aim of financial gain. The real risk – and what distinguishes this case from ”Horsegate” – is that such conduct poses a serious risk to the health of allergic consumers.
The tree nuts category, indeed, is one of the allergens that more easily could cause violent anaphylactic shock; the risk is more than real, since the analytical detection of almond’s traces (probably remained caked on the shells) was the cause of dozens of recalls and withdrawals from the market started in UK, US, Canada and several other European countries.
Although the intent of the contamination has not yet been demonstrated, it is clear that such a wide spread of withdrawals and recalls worldwide, as well as the involvement in the issue of many different brands on the market (even global retailers such as Morrisons and Sainsbury’s) and the different types product, clearly suggest a deliberate fraud.
Spices have quite high prices, which allow good profit margins through this kind of adulteration: in addition, not always the systems of internal traceability of the small and medium-size companies are adequate to the high complexity required by management of these raw materials and their mix. Finally, as highlighted by Prof. Chris Elliot in some recent interviews, the last season saw in Gujarat (India) a cumin harvest absolutely disastrous because of the weather, and this caused a spike in prices.
Although a British company, Bart Ingredients, has challenged the analytical methods used by the British “Food Standards Agency” (FSA), advancing the hypothesis of “false positives” attributed to another ingredient (the “Mahaleb”, extracted from a variety of cherry tree), the chances that this is proved true for all cases found seems utterly unrealistic.
UK, was the European country most affected by the phenomenon. Here the cumin’s consumption as a flavor enhancer in soups and processed products, and also in combination with other spices such as paprika, chili and curry, is very high. The extent of the contamination, however, is not yet fully established. At the moment there have been no reports of deaths or hospitalizations due to the issue, but unfortunately could only be a matter of time. The spices are used in many processed and prepacked foods and it will be very difficult to detect all the products contaminated and to remove them all from the shelves (e.g. the first recalls involved kit for fajitas in British supermarket).
This will be the first “stress test” for the newborn FSA “Food Crime United” and the UK food safety system as a whole, after its reorganization following the “Elliot Review”. Important signals, however, should also be sent by the European Commission, now engaged with the revision of Reg. (EC) n. 882/2004 and with the implementation of appropriate measures to fight frauds.
- “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”
- “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”
- “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, although the FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”
- “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”
Sanofi launches a new probiotic supplement for kids in South Korea. Released, in Costco stores under the global Cenovis Kids brand, the new supplement with a delicious vanilla flavor and teddy bear shape is produced by Anlit Ltd., Israel, and designed specifically for kids.
”We chose to work with Anlit since they have unique dietary supplement solutions designed for children,” says Joo Yuen Park, Cenovis Kids Brand Manager for Sanofi. “They specialize in making children’s supplements attractive to kids and their parents, helping to improve the child’s health and well-being.”
The global probiotic supplements market has demonstrated an impressive growth curve, with a 13% increase in product launches in 2014 over 2013, as tracked by Innova Market Insights. The leading positioning for global probiotic supplements tracked in 2014 were: digestive/liver health, immune health and for children’s health.
“Making an ideal supplement for kids is a complicated task,” explains Shai Karlinsky, VP of Marketing and Sales at Anlit Ltd., Israel. “As a father, I’m committed to provide a balanced diet for my kids. But not all children follow a healthy diet. Our job is to help them, and their parents, improve their daily nutrition without compromising on flavor.”
According to Anlit nutrition scientists, the secret to developing a high-quality supplement for children is making sure all active ingredients, especially its formulae containing friendly lactic acid bacteria and prebiotics, deliver promised benefits, yet maintain an appealing flavor that is so important for children. Anlit’s “Kidi Bites” technology overcomes challenges of flavor and aroma, providing a tasty and healthy solution for children. The delicious matrix, with a vanilla flavor and smooth texture, greatly appeals to children and provides a shelf-life of two years.
The probiotic Cenovis Kids line is customized for children aged two years and older. It is gluten-free, sugar-free, easily chewable and produced with Anlit’s proprietary microencapsulation technology that overcomes taste and texture challenges. It is marketed in cube-shaped units of 20 supplements per blister-pack. Each cube is individually sealed in a foil blister to ensure prolonged stability. The supplement contains no artificial colors or preservatives and is kosher-
Question for written answer to the Commission
Matteo Salvini (NI) , Mara Bizzotto (NI) , Mario Borghezio (NI) , Gianluca Buonanno (NI) , Lorenzo Fontana (NI)
Subject: minimum dimensions for clams and protection of the fishing industry
Under the terms of Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, the fishing and sale of marine organisms smaller than the sizes specified in said regulation and its appendices are prohibited.
In particular, the abovementioned regulation prohibits the fishing, transportation and sale of clams which measure less than 2.5 cm.
This restriction could well cause serious damage to the European clam fishing industry and also exposes it to the risk of sanctions in the event of non-compliance.
In this context, can the Commission answer the following questions:
|1.||On what criteria was the decision to set a minimum size of 2.5 cm for fishable clams based?|
|2.||What steps has the Commission taken or does it intend to take to protect European fisherman, since they will inevitably be less competitive than their counterparts in third countries, who are not subject to the same restrictions and who can export their products, amongst others, to the European market?|
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission – 30th March 2015
The minimum conservation size of 2.5 cm for the different species of Venus and carpet clams was originally introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 1626/94 and subsequently, upon a specific request by the European Parliament, maintained in the new Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 on consideration that the industry had not only adjusted very well to their regulation but were calling for its reintroduction in the Commission proposal.
The STECF also provided advice on selectivity improvements of the fishing practice to match with the minimum conservation size.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 also applies to marketing of fishery products caught in the Mediterranean and the Member States can prevent importation and trading of undersized specimens from Mediterranean third countries provided the following conditions apply:
|—||the fishery product has been caught in Mediterranean waters|
|—||the measures for imported products are no more disadvantageous than for internal trading|
|—||there is no discrimination amongst products coming from different third countries.|
(Source: EU Parliament website)
Together with my friend and partner at Iseven Servizi, Franco Aquilano, on 17th April 2014, in Milan (near the beautiful Duomo), I will teach in a course dedicated to FDA general requirements for import foodstuffs in USA – after the Bioterrorism Act and the Food Safety Modernization Act – and on food defense systems.
While I will cover the first argument, together with some insights about the food recall system in USA and crisis management strategies, Franco will explain the requirements of a food defense system, also in light of some private standards (BRC, IFS).
Food defense is putting measures in place that reduce the chances of the food supply from becoming intentionally contaminated using a variety of chemicals, biological agents or other harmful substances by people who want to do us harm. These agents could include materials that are not naturally-occurring or substances not routinely tested for in food products. A terrorist’s goal might be to kill people, disrupt our economy, or ruin your business. Intentional acts generally occur infrequently, can be difficult to detect, and are hard to predict.
The course is organized by Certiquality, certification body, accredited to provide enterprises with certification services covering quality, environmental and safety management systems, as well as product certification.
You can see the program, download the brochure and book your place, until April 9th, here. Language of the course: Italian.
In case you are late for this date, we will propose again the course after the Summer and is also available on demand for groups. Please be in touch with us or Certiquality for any further info.
These guidance document describing the food categories in Part E of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on Food Additives was elaborated by Commission services after consultation with the Member States’ experts on food additives and the relevant stakeholders, and updated to March 2015.
The descriptions of the categories can be useful for Member State control authorities and food industry to assure correct implementation of the food additives legislation.
The guidance document does not represent the official position of the Commission and they do not intend to produce legally binding effects. Only the European Court of Justice has jurisdiction to give preliminary rulings concerning the validity and interpretation of acts of the institutions of the EU pursuant to Article 267 of the Treaty. The Guidance notes have not been adopted on the basis of Article 19 (c) of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008.
The Union list of food additives approved for use in food and their conditions of use are included in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives. The food additives are listed on the basis of the categories of food to which they may be added e.g. fish and fish products, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, confectionery, etc.
The list allows easy identification of the additives authorised for use in a certain foodstuff, offering greater transparency. The list is more accessible for all persons involved in any component of the food chain, be it as a consumer, the control authorities or the food industry. The improved transparency allows correct and therefore safer use of food additives.
This guidance document is provided to describe the different categories in order to enhance uniform application and enforcement. It should be noted that the food categories have been created with the sole purpose of listing the authorised additives and their conditions of use. The food category descriptors are not to be legal product designations nor are they intended for labelling purposes.
Where vertical legislation is referred to in the title of a category the definitions as provided in that legislation apply. In addition to the description of the categories, the guidance document also describes the foodstuffs in Annex II that are written in italic. The food category system does not specifically mention compound foodstuffs, e.g. prepared meals, because they may contain, pro rata, all the additives authorised for use in their components via carry over. Where necessary, this guidance document will be updated to provide further clarification.
(Source: EU Commission – DG Sante website)
What are we talking about?
Food fraud is the next legislative enigma for food regulators in EU, as well as in other major food systems, like the US one. I am following from the very inside the legislative work on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (and I will be more than happy to discuss with any of you about this topic) but, despite the differences in the approach, the problems remain the same.
Due to the changing nature and variety of the phenomena, the first and biggest problem is to find a comprehensive definition. The second is to introduce effective and dissuasive sanctions, together with an enforcement system with adequate means and skills to contrast them.
In this context some certification schemes, like the BRC version 7, are introducing specific requirements for food fraud prevention. But how to manage a specific audit for food fraud prevention, how to ask the right question, as well as how to implement a vulnerability assessment plan it is hard to define in a single “standard”.
An effective food fraud prevention system cannot exist without a solid base of intelligence, without a continuous activity of horizon scanning for emerging risks and without a strong control on your supply chain.
Inscatech is the first and only company currently providing intelligence gathering boots on the ground all over the world, food fraud vulnerability assessments and control plans. Inscatech has established a solid reputation in the food industry and in the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) Food Fraud Think Tank as both a pioneer and the sole provider of food fraud intelligence investigations, forensically based vulnerability assessments, supplier qualification examinations, validated supply chain mapping, and food fraud vulnerability control programs. Through its work with many of the largest food producers and retail grocery conglomerates globally, Inscatech is leading the food industry towards a harmonized and systematic approach to protecting the safety and authenticity of the global food supply.
INSCATECH in the news and my next activities
You can read more about Inscatech:
- in this amazing article on Wired: “The A-Team That Tracks the Poisonous Additives in Our Food”;
on Food Safety News: “F00d Fraud: Money Scam and Health Hazard”
on NY Times: “Counterfeit food more widespread than suspected”
On 27th March 2015 I will be in Milan for a free presentation about the BRC 7 requirements for food frauds prevention.
On 2nd June 2015 I will be guest speaker at the Food&Beverage Law&IP conference, organised in London by IPRConnections in the exclusive location of the London Stock Exchange. Foodlawlatest.com is a media partner of the event. There will be speakers and representative from the most well recognised companies in the world, such as Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, Scotch Whisky Association, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Pernod Ricard, Red Bull Asia and many others.
Together with one of the most experienced person in EU regarding the fight against food fraud, John Coady, Chief Audit Manager in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and member of the FSAI’s multi-agency Food Fraud Task Force, I will speak in a panel full of case study about recent food frauds events and tips about what is going on at EU level. As Vice President EU Business and Regulatory affairs at Inscatech, I will give you some hints about how to protect your business from food frauds and about the pivotal role of the intelligence in preventing those events.