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Food recalls in EU – Week 21/2015

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: undeclared soya (presence) and wheat (presence) in and incorrect labelling on roasted and salted almonds from Greece, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Faeroe Islands;

– Allergens: undeclared gluten in frozen grilled vegetables in marinade from Belgium, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Finland, distributed also to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Defective packaging: risk of breakage of bottles containing wine from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Bermuda;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Defective packaging: risk of breakage of bottles containing panaché from France, following company’s own check. Notified from Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (110 CFU/g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Spain and Sweden;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (1300 CFU/g) in cow’s milk cheese from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom.

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

– Allergens: traces of egg in soup from Poland, following company’s own check. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Non-pathogenic micro-organisms: hazelnut kernels from Sweden infested with moulds, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Saint Paul in chilled turkey breast fillet from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared soya (5.8 mg/kg – ppm) in liver pate from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Industrial contaminants: migration of melamine (3.1 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine dinner plate from unknown origin, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium;

– Industrial contaminants: 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) (11 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from the United States, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Campylobacter (presence/25g) in chicken liver parfait from Ireland, following a food poisoning. Notified by United Kingdom;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/g) in pasteurized cheese from Italy, following company’s own check. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Munchen (presence/25g) in smoked paprika powder from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to France, Ireland and United Arab Emirates;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (presence/25g) in frozen chicken livers and skins from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany and Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O26 – VTEC eaeA and VTEC vtx1./25g) in smoked sausage from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Latvia, distributed also to Estonia.

4. Seizures:

– In Switzerland, following a border control, we had a seizure of basil from Laos for pesticide residues: carbosulfan (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (1.4 mg/kg – ppm) and a seizure of kale from Vietnam for composition and pesticide residues: too high content of nitrate (4700 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances carbendazim (1.12 mg/kg – ppm), chlorfenapyr (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) and chlorfluazuron (0.06 mg/kg – ppm).

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) and of certified analytical report for peanut candies from India;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.3; Tot. = 11.4 / B1 = 9.9; Tot. = 11 µg/kg – ppb) in whole and ground egusi seeds from Ghana
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 17.1; Tot. = 21.5 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts with shell from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 30; Tot. = 35 / B1 = 55; Tot. = 64 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from India
  • aflatoxins (B1: 20, Sum 20 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from the United States
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 17.5 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnut kernels from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 33.8 µg/kg – ppb) in raw pistachios from the United States
  • attempt to illegally import dried beans and dried meat and fish products from Nigeria
  • biphenyl (3.44 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) and diazinon (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in black olives in brine from Egypt and (0.2 mg/100ml and 0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in whole natural black olives from Eritrea, via Egypt
  • clofentezine (0.17 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) from Turkey
  • formetanate (0.32 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from Turkey
  • improper health certificate(s) for peanuts from Ghana
  • malathion (0.047 mg/kg – ppm) in myrica rubra from China
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of manganese (2.1 mg/kg – ppm) from stainless steel ladle from India
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): acrylic plates from India unfit for use as food contact material
  • poor temperature control (>-7 °C) of fresh frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei ) from Venezuela and of chilled tuna (Thunnus albacares) from India
  • prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) (3.5 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen raw shrimps from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen turkey meat preparations and in frozen spiced turkey breasts from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (present /25g) in frozen salted chicken breasts from Thailand

COOLing on mandatory origin labelling – Part 2 – Report published also on milk and other kinds of meat

pouring milk in a glass isolated

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)

Canada – Potatoes recalled for suspected tampering (nails and needles)

potatoes
Date of recall: May 22, 2015
Reason for recall: Tampering
Hazard classification: Class 3
Company / Firm: Loblaw Companies Limited, Strang’s Produce Inc.
Distribution: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
Extent of the distribution: Retail

Recall details

Ottawa, May 22, 2015 – Loblaw Companies Limited and Strang’s Produce Inc. are voluntarily recalling certain Farmer’s Market and Strang’s Produce brands of Russet Potatoes from the marketplace due to possible food tampering with nails and needles. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Strang’s Chef Potatoes Jumbo for Chips 50 lb (22.7 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
033383454900
Farmer’s Market Potatoes Russet 15 lb (6.8 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
061483014779
Farmer’s Market Potatoes Russet 10 lb (4.54 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
061483014786
Farmer’s Market Potatoes Russet 5 lb (2.27 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
061483005920
Strang’s Produce Potatoes 15 lb (6.8 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
3338345486
Strang’s Produce Potatoes 10 lb (4.54 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
3338345485
Strang’s Produce Potatoes 5 lb (2.27 kg) Julian dates between 060 – 135
followed by 11W or 12W
Examples: 11412W, 13011W
3338345481

What you should do

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. However, if you find a foreign metal object in a potato, please do not throw out the potato, metal object or the bag and any tags related to the product. Please contact your local police so the potatoes and related items can be passed along to the investigators.

Background

This recall was triggered by an ongoing investigation into consumer complaints of nails and needles which appear to have been inserted into potatoes. As tampering is a criminal offense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are leading the investigation into this matter.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (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.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled products from the marketplace.

Illnesses

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

(Source: CFIA website)

COOLing on mandatory origin labelling – EU Commission report published

Shopping

On 20th May 2015 the EU Commission, pursuant art. 26 (5) and (6) of the Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 published the “Study on the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance of unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food”.

More report are expected to be published about:

(a) types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry;

(b) milk;

(c) milk used as an ingredient in dairy products.

The conclusions of the study are the following:

  • In terms of factors affecting consumer purchasing decisions, consumer interest in origin labelling, ranks behind price, taste, use by/best before date, convenience and/or appearance aspects. Even if consumer interest in origin labelling for unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients representing more than 50% of a food is claimed by two thirds to three quarters of consumers, it is lower than for food categories such as meat, meat products or dairy products.
  • Consumers link origin information to various product aspects, such as quality, safety, environmental concerns and also declare that they would buy national products to support the economy of their country, with important differences amongst Member States. They would prefer information on origin at the level of the country compared with a EU/non-EU level and seem more interested in the place of production compared with the place of farming of the raw material.
  • Unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food are food categories that gather very different products, for which consumer interest in origin information and economic impact of imposing a mandatory origin labelling varies greatly.
  • The supply chains for the three categories of foods in the scope of the report show that the origin of ingredients varies frequently to maintain low purchasing prices and to maintain the quality of the final product. Therefore, mandatory origin labelling at the EU level and even more at the level of the country is highly complex to implement in many areas of food, leading to substantial increases of costs of production, which ultimately would be passed on to consumers.
  • Origin labelling on a voluntary basis would be the least market disruptive scenario and would maintain product cost at current levels. It would not provide a satisfactory solution to the consumer demand for systematic origin information, but consumers could, if they so wish, opt for foods where origin information is voluntarily provided for by food business operators.
  • Mandatory origin labelling at EU level (EU/non-EU or EU/third country) leads to less important production cost increases, less burden for both food business operators and Member States competent authorities, but consumer satisfaction would be not as high as with mandatory origin labelling at country level. Unlike origin labelling at EU level, origin labelling at country level would have an 13 important impact on the internal market, with a possible increase of consumption of local foods for certain markets.
  • Both mandatory origin labelling scenarios at EU and country levels could impact on international food supplies and interfere with existing trade agreements with third countries. Additional labelling rules may lower the competitiveness of EU food business operators on the international market, while food business operators from third countries are concerned about potential additional costs of production and loss of exports to the EU because consumers would prefer foods of EU origin.
  • Finally, mandatory origin labelling would represent an additional burden on Member States competent authorities, in particular in the current economic environment, if they had to cope with the imposition of possible new control tasks for such additional requirements.
  • Against this background and in view of the Commission policies in terms of better regulation, voluntary origin labelling combined with the already existing mandatory origin labelling regimes for specific foods or categories of food appears as the suitable option. It maintains selling prices at current levels and still allows consumers to choose products with specific origins if they want to, while it does not affect the competitiveness of food business operators and does not impact internal market and international trade.

The report will be presented soon to the EU Parliament, but the chance to see a legislative proposal on mandatory COOL labelling for these categories of products seems, at the moment, at least less likely.

Milan 18th June 2015 – Practical seminar: how to defend your business from official controls and food frauds

milano piazza del duomo

On 18th June 2015 I will be in Milan for a full day practical seminar on how to defend your business from official controls, non compliance events and food frauds. The course is hosted and organized by Certiquality, 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.

Aim of the course is to offer to the food business operators the instruments to comprehend which are their rights and their obligations during the official controls and the administrative and/or criminal proceedings which follow the non-compliance.

We will analyze the main issues linked to the sampling and testing phase and how to manage an inspection from the competent authority, which kind of measures the competent authorities can apply (i.e. seizures), how to handle a food recall and how to prevent unintentional frauds (i.e. Horsemeat scandal), with practical examples.

The EU Commission is working on a revision of the Reg. (CE) n. 882/2004 on official controls on foodstuffs, and within this context is also evaluating if establishing a common definition of “food frauds” and how to build a credible enforcement system to prevent such incidents.

It is of pivotal importance to be updated on those aspects, since the publication of the new Regulation (in origin fixed for the end of 2015) probably will be in the first half of 2016.

You can see the full program here and subscribe at the following page.

Language of the course: Italian. For readers from foreign countries I remember that I can organize also sessions via webinar/distance learning.

Food recalls in EU – Week 20/2015

Topo

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

Allergens: undeclared gluten (111.5; 746 mg/kg – ppm) in gluten free crisps from Ireland, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Foreign bodies: metal pieces in potato salad from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland;

– Foreign bodies: dead mouse in unsalted organic crunchy peanut butter from the Netherlands, following a consumer complaint. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland, Norway and Spain;

– Foreign bodies: plastic fragments (1 <–> 2 cm) in frozen gluten and wheat free chicken goujons from the Netherlands, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: norovirus (presence/25g) in frozen blueberries from Chile, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and Luxembourg;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in raw milk camembert from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Germany, Poland and Sweden.

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

– Foreign bodies: metal pieces in carrot & swede mash from the United Kingdom, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Gibraltar;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials): colour migration from plastic bowls from China, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Bulgaria, Cyprus, Kosovo, Romania and Macedonia.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared egg in cod burger from the Netherlands, following a food poisoning. Notified by Sweden;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of cadmium (0.52 mg/item) and of lead (4.0 mg/item) from glass mugs from China, following an official control on the market. Notified from Poland, distributed also to Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia;

Food poisoning suspected to be caused by organic quinoa flake from Bolivia, packaged in Denmark. Notified from Norway;

– Mycotoxins: ochratoxin A (6.4 – 40 µg/kg – ppb) in buckwheat flour from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium.

4. Seizures:

In Denmark we had a seizure of chopped hazelnuts from Turkey for aflatoxins (B1 = 9; Tot. = 26 µg/kg – ppb).

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) for curry leaves from India and for seaweed instant rice noodles from Thailand, dispatched from Hong Kong
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 14.3; Tot. = 18.2 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels and in nutmegs (B1 = 36.7; Tot. = 38.1 µg/kg – ppb) from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 18.7 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 24.0; Tot. = 26.3 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio nuts from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 9; Tot. = 26 µg/kg – ppb) in chopped hazelnuts from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.36 mg/kg – ppm) and fenitrothion (0.05 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • chlorpyrifos-methyl (0.606 mg/kg – ppm) and lambda-cyhalothrin (0.273 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • diazinon (0.023 mg/kg – ppm) and fenitrothion (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • dried headless trevally (Carangidae) from Vietnam infested with moulds
  • poor temperature control (between -7.9 and -12.8 °C) of frozen common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) from Mauritania
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen boneless skinless spiced half turkey breasts from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella Stanley (2 out 3 samples /25g) in dried black fungus from Vietnam
  • unauthorised irradiation of extract of red rice from China
  • unauthorised novel food ingredient Phellinus linteus in food supplement from the United States
  • unauthorised substance carbaryl (1.73 mg/kg – ppm) in beans from Madagascar
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.024 mg/kg – ppm) in dried lentils from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in basmati rice from India

Written QeA to EU Commission – Sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children

Girl Enjoying Chocolate Milk --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Question for written answer to the Commission
Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D) – 13 March 2015

Subject: Sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children

The Commission is currently undertaking consultation with a view to preparing a report on milk-based drinks for young children. This report will be partly informed by the 2013 report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the same subject(1), which looked at nutrient requirements and recommendations, including energy intake.

The EFSA report warned that ‘observed average energy intakes in infants and young children living in Europe are generally above the AR (average requirement)’ and that ‘energy intakes above requirements will lead to an unfavourable gain in body mass’. However, it did not draw any specific conclusions on sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children or on their contribution to rising levels of childhood obesity and to changes in the development of children’s palates.

Given the childhood obesity crisis and the importance of developing healthy lifestyle behaviours in children, will the Commission ask the EFSA to report specifically on sugar levels in milk-based drinks for young children?

Will it consider the effect of sugar levels in milk-based drinks and their possible contribution to excess energy intake, which, as the EFSA warns, is already leading to ‘an unfavourable gain in body mass’ among children?

Will it also ask the EFSA to report on sugar levels in baby foods, such as processed cereal‐based foods?

(1) EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), ‘Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union’, EFSA Journal, 2013, 11(10):3408.

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 5 May 2015

As noted by the Honourable Member, the Commission is currently preparing a report on the necessity, if any, of specific rules for milk-based drinks and similar products intended for young children (also known as young-child formulae), pursuant to Article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 609/2013(1).

In preparation for this report, the Commission consulted the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provided its views on young-child formulae, including on their composition and role in the diet of young children(2). The report will take into account EFSA’s views as well as other elements (including the outcome of consultations with Member States, NGOs and relevant stakeholders). No additional consultation with EFSA is considered necessary, at this stage, on young-child formulae.

With respect to processed cereal-based food and baby food for infants and young children, the Commission intends to request EFSA’s advice in the future for the purpose of reviewing the compositional requirements laid down in the legislation for these products.

The Commission supports Member States’ action to promote healthy lifestyles and provide education on diet and physical activity among children so as to help prevent obesity and related health problems. This support takes place through the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity(3) and the EU platform for action on diet, physical activity and health(4) and through projects co-financed under the Health Programme(5).

(1) OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 35.
(2) EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2013. Scientific Opinion on nutrient requirements and dietary intakes of infants and young children in the European Union. EFSA Journal 2013;11(10):3408; EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2014. Scientific Opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae. EFSA Journal 2014;12(7):3760.
(3) http://ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/high_level_group/index_en.htm
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/platform/index_en.htm
(5) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014R0282&from=EN

(Source: EU Parliament)

Written QeA to EU Commission – Indication of the production site on labels

Foodproduction728

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.

(1) Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20.3.2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs (OJ L 109, 6.5.2000, p. 29).
(2) Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25.10.2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18).
(3) Article 3(2) of Directive 2000/13/EC.
(4) Article 9(1)(h) read in conjunction with Article 8(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.
(5) Article 2(2)(g) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.

(Source: EU Parliament)

New Incaberrix Superberry ingredients targets beverage market

ripe physalis isolated on white background

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.

Rome 27th May 2015 – Course on food labelling and non compliance management

Colosseo, Roma

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.

Food recalls in EU – Week 19/2015

cheeses

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (3500 CFU/g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Germany and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (6000 CFU/g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following food poisoning. Notified by France, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in goat cheese made from raw milk from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

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

– Composition: unauthorised colours Sudan 1 (20 µg/kg – ppb) and Orange II (1400 µg/kg – ppb) in sumac from Iran, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Novel Food: unauthorised novel food organic graviola leaf powder (Annona muricata) from the Czech Republic, following an official control on the market. Notified by Finland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak caused by norovirus (2 out of 3 samples) in frozen raspberries from Serbia, following a food poisoning. Notified by Sweden.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: traces of peanut in tahini from Poland, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany;

Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 140; Tot. = 160 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran, via Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 9.1; Tot. = 10.6 µg/kg – ppb) in blanched groundnut kernels from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Romania.

4. Seizures:

In Spain we had a seizure for an unauthorised operator and absence of health mark on fresh fillets and loins of cod. The product was distributed also to Italy.

5. Border rejections:

  • acephate (0.08 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh waxberry (Myrica Rubra) from China
  • acetamiprid and imidacloprid and unauthorised substances tolfenpyrad, anthraquinone and isocarbophos in green tea Polyphenols from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 195; Tot. = 215 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios, pistachios in shell (B1 = 796; Tot. = 862 µg/kg – ppb) and pistachio nuts (B1 = 28.1; Tot. = 28.1 / B1 = 26; Tot. = 27 µg/kg – ppb) from Iran
  • biphenyl (8.56 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos-methyl (1.235 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh sweet peppers
  • chlorpyrifos (0.112 mg/kg – ppm), pyrimethanil (0.406 mg/kg – ppm), iprodione (0.123 mg/kg – ppm), tebuconazole (0.369 mg/kg – ppm), tetraconazole (0.074 mg/kg – ppm), indoxacarb (0.036 mg/kg – ppm), methoxyfenozide (0.771 mg/kg – ppm), difenoconazole (0.057 mg/kg – ppm), azoxystrobin (0.572 mg/kg – ppm), imidacloprid (0.027 mg/kg – ppm), boscalid (0.157 mg/kg – ppm), kresoxim-methyl (0.032 mg/kg – ppm), chlorantraniliprole (0.043 mg/kg – ppm) and metrafenone (0.369 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance fenbutatin oxide (0.311 mg/kg – ppm) in pickled vine leaves from Turkey
  • FCM: migration of manganese (0.6 mg/kg – ppm) from skimmers from China
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 101; Tot. = 223.8 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts for bird feed and in groundnuts for birdfeed (B1 = 207; Tot. = 306.4 µg/kg – ppb) from the Gambia
  • fraudulent health certificate(s) for frozen pork fat dispatched from Russia
  • histamine (605 mg/kg – ppm) in sardines (Sardina pilchardus) from Tunisia
  • incorrect labelling on orange soft drink from the United Arab Emirates
  • missing import declaration for pistachios from Turkey
  • poor temperature control (between -2.9 and -5.5 °C) of frozen cape hake (Merluccius capensis) and deepwater (Merluccius paradoxus) hake from Namibia
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen meat preparations and in frozen salted chicken meat preparations from Thailand
  • Salmonella spp. (presence/25g) in frozen boneless skinless seasoned chicken inner fillet (Gallus gallus) and in frozen chicken meat preparations from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in paan leaves from India
  • Salmonella spp. (in 3 out of 5 samples /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India and from Nicarauga (in 2 out of 5 samples/25g)
  • too high content of copper (120 mg/kg dry matter) in vine leaves in brine from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance tolfenpyrad (0.031 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos in beans from Nigeria

Food recalls in EU – Week 18/2015

camembert

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (positive) in camembert cheese from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (6700 CFU/g) in raw sheep’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Rissen (presence/25g) in organic chlorella powder from China, via the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to Slovenia.

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

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: residue level above MRL for dexamethasone (>3 µg/kg – ppb) in slaughter calves from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Biotoxins: Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins (7166 µg/kg – ppb) in cockles, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

FCM – Composition: migration of aluminium (2.1 mg/l) from green ceramic bowls from China, via Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by France;

Food poisoning suspected to be caused by mussels from Spain. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: too high count of Escherichia coli (1300 MPN/100g) in rope mussels (Mytilus Edulis) from Ireland, following company’s own check. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (50 CFU/g) in raw milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Italy and Netherlands.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 21.8; Tot. = 26.1 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachio from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 23.1; Tot. = 24.3 µg/kg – ppb) in chilly powder and in red pepper ground (Capsicum spp) (B1 = 6.181 µg/kg – ppb) from India
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 3.1; Tot. = 4 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from China
  • arsenic (11.7 mg/kg – ppm) and lead (8.3 mg/kg – ppm) in, attempt to illegally import calabash chalk from Ghana
  • attempt to illegally import live oysters and mussels from Senegal
  • chlorpyrifos (0.71 mg/kg – ppm) and buprofezin (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) in Sichuan green tea from China
  • formetanate (0.274 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • improper import declaration (product not heat-treated) for frozen cooked clams from Vietnam
  • FCM: migration of formaldehyde (19.7 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine kitchen and melamine plates (46.9 mg/kg – ppm) from China
  • FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (2.02 mg/kg – ppm) from polyamide kitchenware from China
  • poor temperature control of mackerel and other fish products from India
  • prohibited substance chloramphenicol (210 µg/kg – ppb) in enzyme powder from India
  • Salmonella Kentucky (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence), Salmonella Mbandaka (presence /25g) and Salmonella Orion (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen meat preparations and in frozen turkey meat preparations from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. in frozen salted chicken breast meat from Thailand
  • thiophanate-methyl (0.53 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbendazim (0.15 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh chilli peppers (Capsicum) from the Dominican Republic
  • unauthorised irradiation of red yeast rice extract from China
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (10.8 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • unauthorised substance tolfenpyrad (0.079 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • unauthorised use of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF (98 mg/l) in mirinda soft drink

Written QeA to EU Commission – CETA provisional application?

flag-of-canada

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)

Food recalls in EU – Week 17/2015

Caramelle Toffee

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

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

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seizures:

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

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

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

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

5. Border rejections:

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

Summer Academy In Global Food Law and Policy – Deadline to apply 31st May 2015 – Final program and discussion panel on food frauds

Summer Academy

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

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

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

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

Amongst the other speakers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giovanni Gruni: Oxford University

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

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

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

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

The deadline to apply is 31st May 2015.

Conferences in Paraguay

ASUNCION_PANTEON_NACIONAL_DE_LOS_HÉROES

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

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

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

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

See you there!

 

 

The next food fraud? Worse than the ”Horsegate”

Cumin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food recalls in EU – Week 16/2015

explode

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

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

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

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seizures:

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

5. Border rejections:

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

Food recalls in EU – Week 15/2015

pesce-palla-02

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

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

None.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seizures:

None.

5. Border rejections:

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

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

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

Sanofi Korea Launches Anlit Probiotic Supplement for Kids

Sanofi Korea Launches Anlit Probiotic Supplement for Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

FVO report – Pesticides residues in table grapes from Peru

Table_grapes_on_white

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food recalls in EU – Week 14/2015

Chocolate-Bar-cc-search

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seizures:

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

5. Border rejections:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: EU Parliament website)

Seminar on FDA requirements for import and food defense

milano piazza del duomo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food recalls in EU – Week 13/2015

paprika-smoked-spanish-sweet-1

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

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

Summer Academy in Global Food Law and Policy 2015 – Bilbao

Bilbao

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

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

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

The provisional program is the following:

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

And many more sessions and speakers to be announced.

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

To download the 2015 preview program, please click here

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

Foodadditives031015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: EU Commission – DG Sante website)

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

food-fraud

What are we talking about?

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

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

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

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

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

INSCATECH in the news and my next activities

You can read more about Inscatech:

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

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

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

Food recalls in EU – Week 12/2015

mussels

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

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