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Food recalls in EU – Week 16 – 2014

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

Foreign bodies: glass fragments in pepper corns in glass pepper mill, following company’s own check. Origin Germany, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, France, Hungary and Romania;

Allergens: undeclared cashew nut in chocolate hazelnut mix, following a consumer complaint. Origin Netherlands, notified by Finland;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in smoked salmon, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Belgium.

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

Composition: unauthorised substance androstenedione and progesterone in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via Czech Republic), notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Spain;

- Heavy metals: mercury in frozen shark cutlets, following an official control on the market. Origin Portugal, notified by Slovenia;

Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene in smoked sprats, following an official control on the market. Origin Latvia, notified by Slovakia;

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

Pesticide residues: methomyl in table grapes, following company’s own check. Origin Peru (via Netherlands), notified by Belgium, distributed also to France;

Pesticide residues: fenitrothion in oranges, following company’s own check. Origin Egypt, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Austria and France;

Poor or insufficient controls: unpurified area B mussels, following an official control on the market. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Italy, Monaco and Switzerland.

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, Salmonella spp. in fish meal from Peru, bacterial contamination of canned skipjack tuna from Thailand, aflatoxins in pistachio kernels from Iran, blanched groundnut kernels from Brazil and in chilli peppers from India, ochratoxin A in nutmeg from India, attempt to illegally import paan leaves from Bangladesh, unauthorised substance dichlorvos in fresh dried beans from Nigeria, unauthorised substance sildenafil in instant coffee from China, unauthorised novel food turkey tail mushroom (Coriolus versicolor) to be used in food supplement from the United States, profenofos, quinalphos and tebuconazole in pennywort (Centella) from Sri Lanka, carbendazim in fresh peppers from Turkey, fosthiazate in fresh mint from Morocco, methamidophos, acephate and hexaconazole in chilli from India, malathion in fresh oranges from Egypt, dimethoate in fresh peas from Kenya and amitraz in dried goji bery from China.

For feed, we don’t have any relevant notification this week.

For food contact materials we have an alert notification followed by a withdrawal from the market for:

Migration: phthalate di(2-propylheptylphtalate (DPHP) unauthorised from tube drinking glasses, following an official control on the market. Origin China, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

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FSA evaluates chia seeds as novel food

Chia

The company Andean Grain Products Ltd, is requesting an opinion from the FSA on the ‘equivalence’ of their chia seeds, which are grown in particular regions of South America, with the chia seeds marketed by The Chia Company that are grown in Australia.

The EU Novel Foods Regulation includes a simplified approval procedure for when a company believes its novel food is substantially equivalent to a food that is already on the market. In such a situation, the applicant can submit a notification to the European Commission after obtaining an opinion on equivalence from an EU member state – in this case the UK.

Chia is a summer annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Labiatae family. It grows from a seedling to develop lush green foliage before it produces long flowers which are either purple or, less commonly, white. These flowers develop into seed pods to produce chia seeds. Although chia is grown commercially in several Latin American countries and Australia, the seeds have not been consumed to a significant degree in Europe.

The applicant’s chia seeds will be used in the same products as those for which approval has been granted last year for the Chia Company’s seeds (bread products, breakfast cereal, fruit, nut and seed mixes and bread and 100% packaged chia seeds).

Any comments on this application should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat atacnfp@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk by Friday 2 May 2014.

(Source: FSA website)

Food recalls in EU – Week 15 – 2014

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

Biocontaminants: histamine in chilled tuna fillet, following company’s own check. Origin French Polynesia (France), notified by France, distributed also to Switzerland;

Foreign bodies: glass fragments and stones in honey roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by United Kingdom;

Composition: too high content of Vitamin B6 in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin United States (via United Kingdom), notified by France;

Allergens: undeclared mustard in salad sauce, following company’s own check. Origin Hungary, notified by Poland.

We have also two recalls, following information for attention notification:

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

Insufficient labeling: suffocation risk as a result of consumption in jelly cups, following an official control on the market. Origin Vietnam, notified by Germany;

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find, amongst the others, the comeback of the Epatitis A from berry mix:

Composition: high content of aluminium in seaweed noodles, following an official control on the market. Origin South Korea (via Netherlands), notified by Germany;

Composition: too high content of Vitamin B6 in food supplement, following an official contro on the market. Origin United States (via Netherlands), notified by France;

Foreign bodies: glass fragments and stones in shelled sunflower kernels, following company’s own check. Origin Netherlands (raw material from Bulgaria), notified by Sweden, distributed also to Belgium, Cyprus and Germany;

Heavy metals: mercury in chilled swordfish fillets, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Italy;

Mycotoxins: fumonisins in organic maize flour, following an official control on the market. Origin Italy (via France), notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak suspected (Hepatitis A) from berry mix buttermilk cake, following a food poisoning. Origin Germany, notified by Norway;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in cooked head of pork, following an official control on the market. Origin Italy, notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis in fresh/frozen poultry meat, following company’s own check. Origin Poland, notified by Poland, distributed also to Bulgaria and United Kingdom.

Moreover, we have another alert notification, without recall or withdrawal from the market, for Hepatitis A:

Pathogenic micro-organisms: virus of Hepatitis A in mixed frozen berries, following a food poisoning. Origin Poland and Bulgaria (via Belgium), notified by France.download

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, Salmonella Spp. in frozen salted chicken breast halves from Brazil, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen beef from Brazil, norovirus  in frozen cooked whole white clams from Vietnam, aflatoxins in shelled almonds from the United States, pistachio kernels from Iran (dispatched from Turkey) and in organic nutmeg powder from India, attempt to illegally import or absence of Common Entry Document (CED) for paan leaves from India and Bangladesh, absence or improper health certificate(s) for seaweed and senbei rice crackers from Hong Kong, for fish sauce from Thailand, for peanut and tamarind chutney from India and for cashew and almond whole fruit and nut bar from Canada (via United States), high content of aluminium in brakeroot vermicelli from China, triazophos in okras from India, fenitrothion in black olives in brine from Egypt, procymidone in fresh peppers from Turkey, acephate in basmati parboiled rice from India, coffee from Brazil infested with mouldscadmium in frozen Pacific flying squids from China, unauthorised use of colour E 127 – erythrosine in pickled ginger from Thailand, unauthorised substances tin, germanium, cobalt, vanadium and strontium in food supplement, unauthorised novel food meshima mushroom (Phellinus linteus) to be used in food supplements, unauthorised placing on the market of food supplement containing Juglans nigra and  unauthorised novel food ingredient clinoptilolite in food supplements from the United States, salicylic acid and undeclared colour E 102 – tartrazine in candies with corn flavour from China, triazophos, acetamiprid, imidacloprid and fipronil and unauthorised substance diafenthiuron in green tea from China.

For feed, we have several information for attention notification, for unauthorised genetically modified (Bt63 rice) choline chloride 60 % from China.

For food contact materials we have an information for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

Migration: outer coating coming off from bakeware rectangular roasters, following a consumer complaint. Origin China (via Hong Kong), notified by Greece, distributed also to Bulgaria and Cyprus.  

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China – FVO report on microbiological contamination in seeds for human consumption

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The audit was carried out from 14th to 18th October 2013 to evaluate the official controls related to production and processing of seeds for sprouting intended for export to the European Union, becaus of the recent oubreaks of Shigatoxin producing E. coli (STEC) in EU and the large Chinese production.

The main Regulations applicable in EU for these products are:

- Reg. CE n. 178/2002 “General Food Law”;

- Reg. CE n. 852/2004 on hygiene requirements for food of non-animal origin;

- Reg. EU 211/2013 on the approval of establishments producing sprouts and the certification for imports into the EU of seeds for the production of sprout.

The objectives of the audit were only partially met, as the audit team was unable to visit primary producers of seeds for sprouting.

The Chinese Competent Authorities (CAs) have started to implement some of the requirements of the EU legislation on sprouts and seeds for sprouting, however there was no evidence provided regarding the hygienic conditions of seed production at farm level and there are no official controls for primary production of seeds for sprouting. The processing facilities visited by the audit team followed Good Hygiene Practices except in regard to the storage facilities. The effectiveness of the official control system is undermined by limited official sampling for microbiological contamination and the lack of representativeness of the official samples. The laboratories visited were accredited and suitable for the purpose of official microbiological analysis with the exception of Shigatoxin producing E. coli (STEC).

The system of official food safety controls currently in place cannot assure that the seeds for sprouting were produced under conditions which comply with the general hygiene provisions for primary production and associated operations set out in Part A of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 as required by Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 211/2013. This applies also for the 2013
harvest.

The Chinese CAs acknowledged the fact that official food safety controls on farms do not take place and proposed a future follow-up audit by the FVO to observe implementation of the general food hygiene requirements at farm level.

Artificial Astaxanthin from DSM AstaSana® shown to be vastly inferior to Natural Algae Astaxanthin in Antioxidant Potential

The Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association (NAXA) has obtained further comparative antioxidant testing results from a leading antioxidant testing laboratory showing that artificial astaxanthin produced from petrochemicals has vastly inferior antioxidant potential than natural astaxanthin from Haematococcus microalgae.  The results showed that algae-based astaxanthin was superior to DSM’s AstaSana in different antioxidant tests; the range was from 9 times more active against peroxyl radicals to over 100 times more active against singlet oxygen.

Results of previous head-to-head testing of algae-based astaxanthin versus artificial astaxanthin from petrochemicals were published in the peer-reviewed journal NutraFoods in December 2013.  These independent results from both Creighton University and an independent laboratory showed that algae-based astaxanthin is approximately 20 to 50 times more active in singlet oxygen quenching and free radical elimination than artificial astaxanthin.  However, the members of NAXA felt that further testing was necessary since the earlier tests were not done specifically with the DSM AstaSana product.

“We see the same results with the AstaSana product that we saw in earlier antioxidant testing of artificial astaxanthin,” said Robert Corish, MD, a member of NAXA and a worldwide authority on astaxanthin.  “Plain and simple, the two products are completely different — not only in antioxidant potential, but the molecules are also different in three crucial ways.  It’s only logical that these products will perform differently in antioxidant testing because they’re inherently different molecules.  And while all the human clinical research showing a wide variety of health benefits has been performed exclusively on natural astaxanthin from algae, we still don’t know how artificial astaxanthin will react in our bodies long term.”

Questions remain not only about the efficacy of artificial astaxanthin, but also about its safety and regulatory status.  Dr. Corish concluded, “There has not been one published safety study on direct human consumption of this synthesized molecule and it hasn’t gone through the FDA’s NDI (New Dietary Ingredient) process.  Frankly, we’re amazed that DSM launched it in the US market without going through these necessary steps.”

Algatechnologies Introduces Highest Content AstaPure® Natural Astaxanthin

Algatechnologies Ltd. (“Algatech”), a leading manufacturer and supplier of natural algae astaxanthin announces the launch of AstaPure® 20% astaxanthin oleoresin. This content of astaxanthin exceeds any in the marketplace.

“The new, advanced product allows our customers to offer much smaller, friendlier sized capsules without changing or reducing the astaxanthin dosage,” explains Efrat Kat, Director of Marketing and Sales at Algatech.

This innovative product is sourced from a rich astaxanthin biomass developed at the Algatech facilities. The oleoresin is then produced utilizing an advanced CO2 extraction technology that enables delicate extraction without the use of organic solvents, keeping astaxanthin’s natural bioactive properties intact.

“The combination of high quality and high concentration in astaxanthin products, plus extended shelf-life, is the perfect solution for natural astaxanthin inclusion in a variety of formulations,” adds Kat.

Algatech is a global biotechnology company specializing in the commercial cultivation of microalgae. The company recently announced another doubling of its production capacity for the AstaPure brand, following an investment of US$20 million in its facility in the Arava Desert.

This launch of high astaxanthin content oleoresin is in line with our strategy to bring added value to our customers by  developing advanced product forms as well as new active ingredients utilizing Algatech’s unique technologies” says Hagai Stadler, CEO of Algatech.

Algatech’s cultivation process employs a closed system that remains completely exposed to natural sunlight. This allows an environmentally controlled process for the production of high-purity astaxanthin ingredients.

The AstaPure line also includes a 10% astaxanthin oleoresin; 2.5% and 2% astaxanthin vegetarian beadlets; 3% astaxanthin powder and 4mg astaxanthin capsules, supplied in bulk.

All AstaPure products can be used across multiple forms of dietary supplements, cosmeceuticals, foods and beverages.

Algatech holds Kosher, Halal ISO 9001-2008, HACCP and GMP international accreditations.

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Food recalls in EU – Week 14 – 2014

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This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we are plenty of recalls from consumers in EU in the alert notification (9):

Biotoxins: Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) toxins in chilled scallops, following an official control on the market. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Italy and Spain;

Composition: too high content of vitamin B6 in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin United States (via United Kingdom), notified by France;

Composition: too high content of vitamin B6 in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin United States (via United Kingdom), notified by France;

- Composition: too high content of vitamin B6 in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin United States (via Netherlands), notified by France;

Foreign bodies: glass fragments in apple puree,  company’s own check. Origin Poland, notified by Germany;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Spp. in frozen duck meat, following company’s own check. Origin Germany, notified by Finland;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Spp. in chilled rear shank of pork baked with parsley, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by France, distributed also to Luxembourg;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Infantis in food supplement, following a consumer complaint. Origin Germany, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain and Switzerland;

Pesticide residues: unauthorised substance chlorate in frozen organic broccoli, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, France and Hungary, notified by Germany.

We have also three recalls, following information for attention notification:

Mycotoxins: Ochratoxin A in soft rolls with fig filling, following company’s own check. Origin Serbia, notified by Slovenia;

Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in low fat cocoa powder, following an official control on the market. Origin China, notified by Hungary;

- Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Spp. in chilled organic chicken chipolata, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

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

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

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Bacillus cereus in cumin powder, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by France.

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, Salmonella in paan leaves from India, Salmonella and too high count of Enterobacteriaceae in fishmeal from Mauritania, Norovirus in frozen boiled clams and in frozen blanched clams from Vietnam, Aflatoxins in diced hazelnuts and pistachios from Turkey, in pistachios and in pistachio nuts from Iran and in groundnuts from China, Ochratoxin A in red raisins from Afghanistan, absence of health certificate(s) for corn sticks from China, unauthorised substance dichlorvos in cashew kernels from Nigeria, dinotefuran in green tea from Japan, E 451 – triphosphate (on label) unauthorised in chilled raw scallops from the United States, malathion and fenthion in dried white beans from Ethiopia, acetamiprid in aubergines (eggplants) and permethrin in fresh peppers  from the Dominican Republic.

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

Biotoxins: meadow saffron in hay, following a consumer complaint. Origin Germany, notified by Netherlands;

For food contact materials we have a couple of border rejections: migration of cadmium and of lead from ceramic mug set and of nickel from electric oven from China.

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“FDA proposes new food label regime in US” on Foodservice Consultant

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As usual, I have to thank you Foodservice Consultant, and the editors Michael Jones and Helen Roxburgh, for publishing again one of my articles on their magazine.  In this short paper I examined the main changes proposed by the FDA about the nutrition facts panel.

We have a well established mutual cooperation, and my presence on their magazine/newsletter will be now quarterly.

Foodservice Consultant is a quarterly publication for worldwide members of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI), and is also distributed to an additional audience of 50,000 senior decision makers from the hospitality, leisure and construction sectors. Foodservice Consultant features interviews with leading FCSI consultants, hoteliers, chefs and architects and addresses topics ranging from sustainability, cuisine and nutrition to design, regulation and technology.

Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) is the premier association promoting professionalism in foodservice and hospitality consulting. With over 1,300 members in over 46 countries, FCSI members offer a wide range of consulting services including concept development, feasibility studies, food safety, design, marketing, operations and training.

It has been a real pleasure working again with them!

Another parliamentary question about coloured Sambuca

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We are following with great interest this case of possible fraud. Here the last parliamentary question to EU Commission; in the links at the end of the article you can find much more info about the case.

Question for written answer P-003034/2014 to the Commission

Iva Zanicchi (PPE)

Subject: Clarification on the marketing of coloured ‘sambuca’ drinks, with particular reference to the law on compound terms

In its answer to question E-012362/2013 the Commission stated that the marketing of coloured products bearing the name ‘sambuca’ is contrary to Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 on the description, presentation, and labelling of spirit drinks.

However, according to the Commission’s interpretation, the regulation does allow the word ‘sambuca’ to be used in compound terms (‘strawberry sambuca’, for example), provided that the alcohol originates entirely from the spirit drink referred to (in this case from anise, the basic constituent of sambuca liqueur). This interpretation is further supported by Regulation (EU) No 716/2013, which is due to enter into force on 1 March 2015.

In the light of the foregoing, and with particular reference to the law on compound terms, can the Commission answer the following questions:

  1. When it drew up the above provisions, how far did the Commission allow for the fact that the traditional sambuca production method uses alcohol distilled from other ingredients (potato, marc, grain) as well as anise and that if sambuca were made only with alcohol produced from anise, it would be undrinkable?
  2. How will it make Member States ensure compliance with the rules on compound terms until Regulation (EU) No 716/2013 has entered into force?
  3. Can the rules on compound terms be considered applicable when essential defining characteristics of protected drinks – the colourlessness of sambuca being one example – are turned on their head?

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The TGA, Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, Granted Anlit GMP Certification

dietary supplement fortified with calcium for kids

Anlit has been granted GMP certification by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the governmental authority charged with regulating therapeutic goods for the protection of public health and safety. The certification was granted to Anlit’s Kidi Bites, an innovative supplement format designed specifically for children.

The TGA is world-renowned for its high standards of quality, requiring food supplement producers to conform with the rigorous requirements imposed on pharmaceutical production.

“Anlit approached this certification as a strategic move, designed to bring our products to the global forefront of quality and excellence,” says Shai Karlinski, Marketing VP for Anlit. “Anlit had to follow a fast learning curve, forging beyond the former food supplement paradigms and adopting new pharma concepts and processes.”

Attaining the TGA stamp of approval is part of Anlit’s strategy for pursuing the highest and most stringent quality standards, paving the way to partnerships with global pharmaceutical companies that are seeking diversification of their product portfolio with unique food supplements. “Thanks to this important certification, Sanofi Aventis, Australia, just launched two of our innovative Kidi Bites supplements for children — Multivitamin and Calcium — in Australia,” notes Karlinski.

Anlit’s Kidi Bites Technology produces tasty supplements focused on kids’ preferences and providing the essential health benefits children need. The delicious matrix, with chocolaty flavor and texture, overcomes children’s typical reluctance to taking nutritional supplements.

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