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Food recalls in EU – Week 3/2015

Glasscherben

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:

Foreign bodies: glass fragments in dip-sauce from Germany, following consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also in Austria, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Spain;

Foreign bodies: plastic fragments in frozen dino-shaped chicken nuggets from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Germany;

Foreign bodies: metal pieces (2 spiral, sharp-edged pieces) in ham sausage from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania and Spain;

Pesticide residues: unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.035 mg/kg – ppm) in limes from Brazil, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Netherlands.

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

Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene (65 µg/kg – ppb) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (330 µg/kg – ppb) in cocoa from the Netherlands, dispatched from Bosnia and Herzegovina, following a border control. Notified by Slovenia.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) in chilled chicken fillets from Belgium, with raw material from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Allergens: undeclared soya (>100 mg/kg – ppm) in candies from Hungary, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • FCM:too high level of overall migration (55 mg/dm²) from vegetables cutting items from China
  • FCM: migration of bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DOTP) (420 mg/kg – ppm) from lids of jars containing chili paste from Thailand
  •  

    aflatoxins (B1 = 21; Tot. = 25.1 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut kernels from China

  • unauthorised substances trichlorphon (0.13 mg/kg – ppm) and dichlorvos (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) in dried sweet beans from Nigeria
  • too high content of vitamin B6 (50 mg/item) in food supplement from the United States
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 104 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled groundnuts for birdfeed from Brazil
  • oxamyl (0.026 mg/kg – ppm) and lambda-cyhalothrin (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in mix chillies from Egypt
  • malathion (0.044 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.28 mg/kg – ppm) and propamocarb (2 mg/kg – ppm) in artichoke (Cynara scolimus) from Tunisia
  • carbendazim (0.89 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruit from Vietnam
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 19.84; Tot. = 23.12 µg/kg – ppb) in nutmeg from Turkey
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • unauthorised placing on the market of food supplements containing Stephania or Chelidonium majus from Vietnam and Ukraine
  • Salmonella Senftenberg (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • chlorpyrifos (0.16 mg/kg – ppm) in mint from Morocco
  • too high content of sulphite (3305 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen chicken meat preparation from Brazil
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 14.3 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 11.7; Tot. = 12.2 µg/kg – ppb) in red chilli from Pakistan
  • unauthorised substances monocrotophos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) and profenofos (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) in okra from India
  • carbaryl (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from China
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 12 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnuts from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 22; Tot. = 27 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted salted pistachios from Turkey
  • too high content of sulphite (2690 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • undeclared sulphite in dried apricots from Turkey
  • prohibited substance chloramphenicol (0.38 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei) from Vietnam
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (presence) in frozen beef (Bos taurus) from Brazil
  • Salmonella Mbandaka (presence /25g) in sesame seeds from India
  • missing import declaration for dates, figs, walnuts and nuts mix from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance dinotefuran (0.025 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled strawberries from Egypt
  • flusilazole (0.054 mg/kg – ppm) in white peppers from Egypt
  • acetamiprid (0.057 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey

Brief overview on the Reg. (EU) n. 1169/2011, also known as FIC (“Food information to consumers”).

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Following the requests of many of my “non-EU” readers, I publish a brief recap of the new provisions of the Regulation…and some links to useful resources.

As of 13 December 2014, new EU food labeling rules are in force: from this date became applicable the Regulation (EU) n. 1169/2011 on food information to consumers, also known as FIC or FIR Regulation. The aim of the new rules is to ensure that consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive and accurate information on food content, helping them to make informed choices about what they eat. The new Regulation replaces the old Directive 2000/13/EU, which is now repealed.

Some of the key changes to the labeling rules are outlined below:

  • Improved legibility of the information (minimum font size for mandatory information, now 1,2 mm in the most of cases);

  • Clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens (e.g. soy, nuts, gluten, lactose) for prepacked foods (emphasised by font, style or background colour) in the list of ingredients;

  • Mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked food, including those sold in restaurants and cafes;

  • Requirement of certain nutrition information for majority of prepacked processed foods (applicable from 13th December 2016);

  • Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry (Reg. (EU) n. 1337/2014);

  • Same labeling requirements for online, distance-selling or buying in a shop;

  • List of engineered nanomaterials in the ingredients.

  • Specific information on the vegetable origin of refined oils and fats;

  • Strengthened rules to prevent misleading practices;

  • Indication of substitute ingredient for ‘Imitation’ foods;

  • Clear indication of “formed meat” or “formed fish”;

  • Clear indication of defrosted products;

  • Clear indication of added water, especially in meat and fish products.

The Regulation was published three years ago and provides a transitional period for exhaustion of stocks for foods placed on the market or labeled before 13 December 2014 (but this does not includes labels).

Despite food business operators have been given three years to ensure a smooth transition towards the new labeling regime for prepacked and non-prepacked foods, the situation is quite to be clear, especially for non-prepacked foods, where there is not a full harmonization and the EU Commission left space to national legislation.

On this side, there is also an ongoing study on the feasibility of a EU database to facilitate the identification of all EU and national mandatory labeling rules in a simple way. This should offer a user-friendly tool for all food business operators and for SME’s, but it will not be ready at least until the second part of 2015.

Recently, on the DG SANCO website, were published Guidelines related to the indication of the presence of certain substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as described in Article 9.1(c) and listed in Annex II of the Regulation. The document is the subject of a public consultation that will end on 4th January 2015 and it covers also some aspects related to non-prepacked foods.

On 31st January 2013, the EU Commission published the first – and until now unique – document of clarification of some specific provisions: Questions and Answers on the application of the Regulation (EU) N° 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. More Q&A and guidelines documents are expected to be published in the next few months: they will cover different topics, in particular general labeling, nutrition labeling, the QUID (Quantitative Ingredients Declaration) and specific products’ type (i.e. meat and fish).

New Natural Liquid Extract Line for Flavor and Sensory Boost

EFLARsense line enhances flavor and health in beverages, foods and supplements

Frutarom BU Health, Switzerland, launches EFLA®sense, a new line of all-natural liquid exctracts, with sensory properties to boost flavor and health benefits in products such as beverages, confectionary, dairy, bakery and liquid dietary supplements.

The use of herbal extracts is an emerging ingredient trend for many market categories according to global product launch activity tracked by Innova Market Insights. There was a 4% increase in global tracked product launches containing herbal extracts in 2014 from 2013, with more future growth anticipated. Supplements was the most active market category for herbal extract applications in 2014, accounting for 11.5% of global product launch activity tracked, followed by Sauces & Seasonings (6.8%), Ready Meals (5.9%) and Soft Drinks (4.9%).

EFLA®sense line contains natural botanic extracts from flowers (including chamomile, elderflower and orange blossom); leaves (peppermint, lemon balm and sage); fruits and seeds (fennel and rose hips) and several herbal blends. These essences are obtained from traditional plants and meet the increasing consumer demand for health and wellness products and clean label. The new line is produced in Switzerland through a gentle process that preserves the delicate flavors and aromatic properties of the ingredients.

“The natural line provides healthy solutions to naturally enhance the taste of finished foods with nuances of flowers, herbs and other essences of nature, says Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom BU Health. “We offer unique natural herbal extracts to help our customers reinvent their products and add healthy sensory appeal.”

EFLA®sense also is especially suitable for liquid supplement products such as “shots,” an excellent bridge between the emerging need for health-promoting nutraceuticals and the inconvenience of swallowing a large number of tablets. The healthy flavor extracts have a typical dosage of 0.1-0.2% and are heat- and pH-stable.

“We carefully select our raw materials and rigorously control the supply chain and production to ensure high purity and quality of our plant extracts,” explains Capelle. “Frutarom BU health has strict protocols for quality and safety assessment in order to provide customers the best sustainable flavor line while enabling clean label capacity.

EFSA – No consumer health risk from bisphenol A exposure

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EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources (diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper) is considerably under the safe level (the “tolerable daily intake” or TDI).

Although new data and refined methodologies have led EFSA’s experts to considerably reduce the safe level of BPA from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day (µg/kg of bw/day) to 4 µg/kg of bw/day, the highest estimates for dietary exposure and for exposure from a combination of sources (called “aggregated exposure” in EFSA’s opinion) are three to five times lower than the new TDI.

Uncertainties surrounding potential health effects of BPA on the mammary gland, reproductive, metabolic, neurobehavioural and immune systems have been quantified and factored in to the calculation of the TDI. In addition, the TDI is temporary pending the outcome of a long-term study in rats, which will help to reduce these uncertainties.

You can find the full opinion and the toxicological/exposure assessments HERE.

BPA is a controversial chemical compound used in the manufacture of food contact materials such as re-usable plastic tableware and can coatings (mainly protective linings). Another widespread use of BPA is in thermal paper commonly used in till/cash register receipts. Residues of BPA can migrate into food and beverages and be ingested by the consumer; BPA from other sources including thermal paper, cosmetics and dust can be absorbed through the skin and by inhalation.

Despite the positive outcomes of many scientific opinions, BPA is banned in many countries for the use in baby bottles and in France, since 1st January 2015, is prohibited for use in all food contact materials.

A recent study is advacing he hypothesis that some substitutes of BPA could be even more dangerous than this substance.

Food recalls in EU – Week 2/2015

pears

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:

Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene (12.7 µg/kg – ppb) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (57.42 µg/kg – ppb) in sprats pate from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Greece.

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

- Heavy metals: migration of cadmium (0.376 mg/kg – ppm) from canned pear halves in light syrup from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Composition: unauthorised substances methyl-synephrine, phenethylamine and phenethylamine derivative (beta-methylphenethylamine) in food supplement from the United States, via the United Kingdom, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland;

– Food additives and flavourings: too high content of thujone (48 mg/l) in absinthe 55 essence from Sweden, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also in Luxembourg;

– Food additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphite (54 mg/kg – ppm) in shelled walnuts from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy;

– Food additives and flavourings: undeclared sulphite (95 mg/kg – ppm) in white corn in salt brine from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins (B1 = 6.7; Tot. = 27.5 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Portugal.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.3; Tot. = 26 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted pistachios from Turkey;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 20; Tot. = 25.1 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from Iran and from Turkey (B1 = 545; Tot. = 559 / B1 = 251; Tot. = 308 µg/kg – ppb);
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 28.1; Tot. = 31.6 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts blanched from China;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 4.3; Tot. = 5.28 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts from China;
  • carbendazim (0.87 mg/kg – ppm), metalaxyl (0.12 mg/kg – ppm) and azoxystrobin (0.59 mg/kg – ppm) in various exotic fruits from Vietnam;
  • chlorpyrifos (0.44 mg/kg – ppm), cypermethrin (1.68 mg/kg – ppm), acetamiprid (0.25; 1.05 mg/kg – ppm), imidacloprid (0.38 mg/kg – ppm) and cyhalothrin (0.09 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance dinotefuran (0.32 mg/kg – ppm) in jasmine, oolong and high mountain green tea from Taiwan;
  • FCM: corrosion of cake pan from China;
  • cyhalothrin (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.07 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria;
  • cypermethrin (3.6 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh mint from Morocco;
  • formetanate (1.311 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers from Turkey;
  • FCM: migration of formaldehyde (20.7; 24.1 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine tableware from China;
  • FCM: migration of nickel (0.43 mg/kg – ppm) from steel grating from Turkey;
  • profenofos (0.02 mg/kg – ppm) and dimethoate (0.049 mg/kg – ppm) in mangetout peas from Kenya;
  • pyridaben (0.14 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance chlorfenapyr (0.16 mg/kg – ppm) in chinese broccoli (Brassica oleracea) from China, via Hong Kong;
  • Salmonella anatum (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India;
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds and sesame seeds from India;
  • Salmonella spp. in frozen chicken breast fillets and frozen skinless spiced turkey from Brazil;
  • triazophos (0.99 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance profenofos (7.5 mg/kg – ppm) in curry leaves from India;
  • unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria;
  • unauthorised substance monocrotophos (0.06 mg/kg – ppm) and permethrin (0.2 mg/kg – ppm) in okra from India;
  • unsuitable organoleptic characteristics (black colour and bad smell) of tuna chunks in brine from the Seychelles with defective packaging and infested with insects.

Mozambique: food safety issue or tribal vengeance? (Update 17.01.2015)

crocodile-bile-during-the-funeral

Probably what will be the most scaring and bizarre food safety issue of the year is coming from Mozambique, where few days ago at least 69 people died (and 196 were hospitalized) after drinking the traditional pombe beer during a funeral.

The Government declared three days of national mourning.

The beer was probably contaminated by crocodile’s bile and most of the people which consume the beverage in the morning stay healthy, while the ones which consume the beer in the afternoon fell ill: probably an intentional contamination happened when the mourners were at the cemetery, but the cause are still unknown.

It was the funeral of a newborn baby and also the child’s mother died.

Samples of blood and beer have been sent to the main hospital in the capital, Maputo, to be tested and to identify the poisonous substance: the situation is expected to worsen because the region did not have the necessary resources to deal with the scale of the poisoning.

Crocodile bile effects are quite controversial and it is quite impossible to find reliable scientific sources: for the East African tradition is a powerful venom, but it seems also that it could be “activated” only if mixed with some not better specified roots. The fact is that African crocodile hunters, especially on the shores of Lake Victoria, usually cut the liver of the beasts and burn it or throw into the water to avoid any risk.

Pombe beer is a traditional Mozambican beer, made from millet or corn flour and brewed for about two days. It is often served during ceremonies, and is sold in rural areas of the country. We can find a description of this beverage in the words of the British explorer Richard Francis Burton, that in late 1850′ traveled from Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika and back, and then wrote “The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration”:

“In East Africa every man is his own maltster; and the “iwánzá” or public house of the village , is the common brewery. In some tribes, however, fermentation is the essential occupation of the women. The principal inebriant is a beer without hops, called pombe. This [beer] of the negro and negroid races dates from the age of Osiris: it is the buzah of Egypt and the farther East, and the merissa of the Upper Nile, the… xythum of the West, and the oala or boyaloa of the Kafirs and the South African races. The taste is somewhat like soured wort of the smallest description, but strangers, who at first dislike it exceedingly, are soon reconciled to it by the pleasurable sensations to which it gives rise. … When made thick with the grounds or sediment of grain it is exceedingly nutritious. Many a gallon must be drunk by the veteran malt-worm before intoxication; and individuals of both sexes sometimes live almost entirely upon pombe. It is usually made as follows: half of the grain–holcus, panicum, or both mixed–intended for the brew is buried or soaked in water till it sprouts; it is then pounded and mixed with the other half, also reduced to flour, and sometimes with a little honey. The compound is boiled twice or thrice in huge pots, strained, when wanted clear, through a bag of matting, and allowed to ferment: after the third day it becomes as sour as vinegar. … As these liquors consume a quantity of grain they are expensive; the large gourdful never fetches less than two khete or strings of beads, and strangers must often pay ten khete for the luxury.

The use of pombe is general throughout the country: the other inebriants are local. At the island and on the coast of Zanzibar, tembo, or toddy, in the West African dialects tombo, is drawn from the cocoa-tree; and in places a pernicious alcohol, called mvinyo, is extracted from it. The Wajiji and other races upon the Tanganyika Lake tap the Guinea-palm for a toddy, which, drawn grawn in unclean pots, soon becomes acid and acrid… “Máwá,” or plantain-wine, is highly prized because it readily intoxicates. The fruit, when ripe, is peeled and hand-kneaded with coarse green grass, in a wide-mouthed earthen pot, till all the juice is extracted: the sweet must is then strained through acornet of plantain-leaf into a clean gourd, which is but partially stopped. To hasten fermentation a handful of toasted or pounded grain is added: after standing for two days in a warm room the wine is ready for drinking.”

17.01.2015 Update

The count of deaths is now 73.

Norman Z. Nyazema, Ph.D., now a professor of pharmacology at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, told Forbes.com that he more likely suspects a common agricultural pesticide (organophosphate) as the agent that has killed the people in the villages of Chitima and Songo. He is one of the few scientist which studied “crocodile bile” effects, back in 1984-1985.

The venomous power of crocodile bile is not scientifically proven and mostly linked to local folklore. With the word “crocodile bile”, both the East African magic tradition and the Chinese one, seem to indicate a venomous mix of herbs and not the anatomic part of the crocodile.

In any case, the cause of the deaths is still unknown and we are waiting for the results of the analysis from the official lab in Mozambique.

 

FVO report – Germany – Food Hygiene for primary production of FNAO and sprouting seeds

Lentil Sprouts

In this report published last December the EU Commission Food and Veterinary office reported some significant weaknesses in the official controls system for food of non animal origin and seeds for sprouting in Germany. The inspection was carried out in November 2013, so it is quite old: I expected better answers to the E.Coli crisis in 2011) from the German competent authorities.

The report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in Germany, carried out from 12 to 22 November 2013 under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004.

The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the system of official controls in the area of food hygiene for primary production of Food of Non-Animal Origin (FNAO) and the system of official controls in the area of traceability and import of seeds intended for sprouting and sprouts, microbiological criteria for them and the approval of sprouting establishments.

It was concluded that there are CAs designated for the official controls on hygiene in primary production of FNAO. The existing legal framework for the risk categorisation of FBOs does not take into account all the establishments which produce food of plant origin. This means that the official control system for primary production of FNAO does not fully take into account all risk sources and covers only post-harvest activities in a limited number of establishments. These controls do not cover the observance of hygiene requirements listed in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004. This means that the potential risks arising from microbiological contamination are not systematically taken into account in the planning of controls.

New EU legislation on seeds for sprouting and sprout producing establishments has not been adequately implemented with regard to the preliminary testing of batches of seeds before their release for processing as required by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005.

(Source: DG Sanco website)

FDA Warning Letter – “Healthy” products

Healthy
This is an interesting example of warning letter issued by the FDA. It gives not only some indications about the use of the term “healthy”, but examines also other profiles of non compliance about allergens (“Contains…”).
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the label for your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product in July 2014. Based on our review, we have concluded that this product is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) (21 U.S.C. § 343) and regulations found in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 101 (21 CFR 101). You can find the Act and FDA regulations through links on FDA’s home page athttp://www.fda.gov.
 
Your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(1)(A)] because the product label bears a nutrient content claim, but the product does not meet the requirements to make such a claim.
 
Under section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act, a claim that characterizes the level of a nutrient which is of the type required to be in the labeling of the food must be made in accordance with a regulation authorizing the use of such a claim. Characterizing the level of a nutrient in the labeling of a food product without complying with the specific requirements pertaining to nutrient content claims for that nutrient misbrands the product under section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act.
 
Specifically, the label of your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product bears an implied nutrient content claim, because it bears statements suggesting that the product may be useful in maintaining healthy dietary practices and those statements are made in connection with claims or statements about nutrients. Specifically, the label of your Dark Chocolate PlumSweets product bears the claim “deliciously sweet and healthy diced plums…” in connection with the statements “Indulge in the Ultimate Antioxidant treat…” and “Dried Plum Whole Fruit Antioxidants + Decadent Dark Chocolate Goodness = The Ultimate Antioxidant Snack.” In the context of this label, FDA considers the claim “deliciously sweet and healthy diced plums…” to be an implied claim about the food itself. However, this product does not meet the requirements for use of the nutrient content claim “healthy” that are set forth in 21 CFR 101.65(d)(2).
 
In accordance with 21 CFR 101.65(d)(2), you may use the term “healthy” as an implied nutrient content claim on the label or in the labeling of a food provided that the food, among other things, is “low saturated fat” as defined in 21 CFR 101.62(c)(2) (i.e., the food has a saturated fat content of 1 g or less per Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) and no more than 15 percent of the calories are from saturated fat).
 
According to the Nutrition Facts panel, your product contains 5 g of saturated fat per 40 g serving of the food. This amount exceeds the maximum of 1 g of saturated fat per RACC for the food and the maximum of 15% of calories from saturated fat in the “low saturated fat” definition. Accordingly, your product does not meet the requirements for use of the nutrient content claim “healthy” on a food label [21 CFR 101.65(d)(2)]. Your product is thus misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(A) of the Act.
 
The above violations are not meant to be an all-inclusive list of violations that may exist in connection with your products or their labeling. It is your responsibility to ensure that your products comply with the Act and its implementing regulations. You should take prompt action to correct the violations. Failure to promptly correct the violations may result in regulatory action without further notice, including seizure and/or injunction. 
 
In addition, in accordance with section 403(w) of the Act, when a food manufacturer opts to use the word “Contains” followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, this information must be placed immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients. The “Contains” statement on your product label is placed at the bottom of the information panel after various printed information such as how to store the product and other non-mandatory labeling information.
 
Please respond to this letter within 15 working days from receipt with the actions you plan to take in response to this letter, including an explanation of each step being taken to correct the current violations and prevent similar violations. Include any documentation necessary to show that correction has been achieved. If you cannot complete corrective action within 15 working days, state the reason for the delay and the time within which you will complete the correction”.
(Source: FDA Website)

Food recalls in EU – Week 1/2015

Glasscherben

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:

- None

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

- None

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in organic nut malt from Italy, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria and Czech Republic.

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella enteritidis (presence /25g) in frozen chicken legs from Poland, following company’s own check. Notified by France.

- Heavy metals: mercury (1.4 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish (Xiphias gladius) from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy.

4. Seizures:

None

5. Border rejections:

- FCM: migration of nickel (1.1 mg/kg – ppm) from steel pliers for toaster from China;

profenofos (0.560 mg/kg – ppm) in fresh strawberries from Egypt;

Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulles sesame seeds from India.

Mislabeling – Tonic Water – Recall in Australia (undeclared quinine)

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An interesting recall in Australia, since also in EU is mandatory declare on the label the presence of quinine as flavou​ring in such beverages. For more information about this recall click here.

Quinine is a natural white crystalline alkaloid having antipyretic, antimalarial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties and a bitter taste. Quinine occurs naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree, though it has also been synthesized in the laboratory. The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua, who are indigenous to Peru and Bolivia; later, the Jesuits were the first to bring cinchona to Europe. Today is used as flavour component of tonic water and bitter lemon. Allergic reactions to quinine can be severe and can affect multiple organs.

Schweppes Australia P/L has recalled Schweppes Indian Tonic Water from Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other independent retail stores in ACT, NSW and QLD due to non compliant labelling (some individual bottles of tonic water are incorrectly labelled as ‘Soda water’ and therefore the quinine declaration is missing). Consumers who are sensitive to quinine may have a reaction if they consume this product. Consumers sensitive to quinine should not consume this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Notified: 30/12/2014

Package description and size: 4 glass bottles contained within a printed cardboard sleeve -300ml x 4 pack

BEST BEFORE 21 OCT 15 and 22 OCT 15 – Factory code 3212

Country of origin: Australia

Contact

Schweppes Australia P/L – 1800 761 470, www.schweppesaustralia.com.au

(Source: FSANZ website)

10 most read articles in 2014

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Dear readers,

This year Foodlawlatest.com doubled his visitors, and we have now more than 10.000 visits each month from more than 160 countries. It’s an amazing result and I have to thank you all my readers for this.

Here’s a recap of the 10 most read articles in 2014:

1. EU maintains ban on betel leaves from Bangladesh: a fabulous guest article written by my dearest friend Francesco Montanari, Food Law consultant in Lisbon, on import/export issues in EU, in particular regarding the ban of betel leaves import from Bangladesh.

2. EU – Breaking news on allergens labelling: in the first days of December DG Sanco opened a public consultation on Guidelines relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.

3. Hepatitis A in frozen berries: the “silent outbreak” – My article on Meyerlegal newlsetter: on 8th September 2014, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the final results of its study on the epidemic of hepatitis A (HAV) that, last year, hit Italy and, to a lesser extent, several other European countries and that is thought to have been caused by some mix of frozen berries of Eastern-European origin. The article tries to highlight the reasons why this very outbreak should be considered an important stress test for the European food safety system as a whole nad why this event was so underestimated.

4. FSA UK – Organic Tofu recall due to a potential risk of botulism: a serious public health matter in April 2014.

5. EU Food Law Handbooka review of one of the most interesting and comprehensive book of the year on this topic. The book is edited by Prof. Bernd Van der Muelen and see the participation of really good friends and gifted professionals like Martin Holle (Nutrition policy in the European Union), Cecilia Kuhn and Francesco Montanari (Importing food into the EU), Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska and many others.

6. Study Demonstrates Superior Bioavailability of Curcumin Micelle: an interesting study for who is interested in the nutraceutical sector.

7. DG-SANCO published translated Q&A on Reg. UE 1169/2011: in May DG Sanco published the first and for now unique document of Q&A on the FIC Regulation in all the official languages of the Union.

8. Allergens Labelling (FIC Regulation n. 1169/2011) on Foodservice Consultant: a July article, published on this HORECA review about the upcoming allergens labelling in EU.

9. USA – FDA Egg Safety Rule: in November the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a regulation expected to prevent each year approximately 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis.

10. Written Q&A to EU Commission – Joint answer on trans fatty acids: in this answer to four written questions by MEPs (click the highlighted numbers to open them), Mr. Borg analyses the state of the art in EU about trans fatty acids. In US the issue is at the top of the FDA agenda. FDA this year has made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major dietary source of trans fat in the processed food supply, are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS.

Thank you all our readers. Keep reading and sharing and happy new year!

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Food recalls in EU – Week 52/2014

gorgo

Our weekly report on EU food alert is coming back, with a more concise and immediate format.

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 (4900 CFU/g) in organic gorgonzola from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Austria.

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

Allergens: undeclared gluten (>50 mg/kg – ppm) in dried egg noodles from Vietnam, following a food poisoning. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

- Industrial contaminants: dioxin-like polychlorobifenyls (4.19 pg WHO TEQ/g) in cheese from Romania, following an official control on the market. Notified by Italy.

4. Seizures:

In Italy seizures of skinless smoothhound shark (Mustelus mustelus) and frozen swordfish from Portugal, due to presence of mercury, and in Belgium seizure of cardboard box containing rice (FCM) from India, due to migration of benzophenone.

5. Border rejections:

- chlorantraniliprole (0.072 mg/kg – ppm) in peas from Kenya

- carbendazim (1.2 mg/kg – ppm) in dragon fruit from Vietnam

- too high count of Escherichia coli (330 MPN/100g) in live clams (Ruditapes decussatus) from Tunisia

- aflatoxins (several notifications) in pistachios from Iran

- methomyl (0.18 mg/kg – ppm) in strawberry from Egypt

- FCM: migration of primary aromatic amines (0.72; 0.65; 0.56 mg/kg – ppm) from nylon tongs from China

- iprovalicarb (0.066 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.039 mg/kg – ppm) in chilli peppers from Thailand

- aflatoxins (B1 = 185 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels and groundnut kernels for birdfeed (FEED) from the Gambia

- FCM: migration of nickel (0.7 mg/kg – ppm) from steel parts of toaster from China

FVO audit in China – Good news about mung beans and sprouting seed exported to EU

Lentil Sprouts

Not everything is coming from China is definitely bad. Following an audit in 2013 (DG(SANCO)/2013-6680), which revealed several profiles of non-compliance with the EU rules, the Chinese Competent Authorities put in place a really effective system to chekk exporting seeds for sprouting and direct human consumption. 

This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in China from 15 September to 22 September 2014.

The first objective of the audit was to assess the official control systems in place for seeds for human consumption (in particular, mung beans and other seeds for sprouting and direct human consumption) for export to the EU in order to prevent microbiological contamination (Articles 11 and 14 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002) and to assess whether these systems offer adequate assurance that the produce concerned is within the limits laid down in EU legislation.

The second objective was to follow-up the previous audit DG (SANCO)/2013-6680. The audit focused on controls at primary production level. The objectives of the audit were met. Significant progress was made by the Chinese Competent Authorities (CAs) since the last audit in 2013 and all six recommendations made in the report of that audit were fully addressed. The CAs have implemented the requirements of the EU legislation on hygiene for exports of mung beans for sprouting. A new control system has been devised explicitly for seeds for sprouting for export to the EU. This is based on registration and approval of farms by regional CAs and the introduction of specific official controls of farms and processors/exporters. The processing facilities visited by the audit team followed Good Hygiene Practices. The laboratory visited was accredited and suitable for the purpose of official microbiological analysis including Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli(STEC).

At the time of the audit there were no export certificates being issued by the CAs of China for seeds for sprouting to be exported to the EU. However, the system of official food safety controls currently in place can assure that the mung beans 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. The system in place enables the CAs of China to issue the required
export certificates. This applies already for the 2014 harvest.

UK – Pork Sausage recalled due to metal pieces presence

roaming-roosters-pork-sausage

Lazenbys Gourmet Sausage has recalled as precautionary measure packs of ‘The Black Farmer’ Premium Pork Sausage with a ‘use-by’ date of 26 December 2014 because of contamination with small pieces of metal. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

The recalled product is:

  • ‘The Black Farmer’ Premium Pork Sausage
  • ‘use-by’ date: 26 December 2014
  • size: 400g

Lazenbys Gourmet Sausage has recalled the above product. Product recall notices are to be displayed in stores. These notices explain to customers why the product is recalled, and advises them of how get a refund if they have purchased the product.

No other ‘The Black Farmer’ products are known to be affected.

If you have bought the above product, do not consume it. Instead, return the product to the store from where you bought it or return the pack and/or label with the implicated ‘use-by’ date to the following postal address for a full refund, including postage:

Lazenbys Gourmet Sausage
Helsinki Road
Sutton Fields Industrial Estate
Hull
East Yorkshire HU7 0YW

(Source: FSA website)

Blog talk radio interview on Hepatitis A in frozen berries

Berries

Thank you to my friend Andy Moreno, Bacterial Pathogen Surveillance Systems Engineer at AME Certified Laboratories (San Francisco) and founder of the blog talk radio AME Food Testing Show, for giving me the opportunity to be again his guest.

Last time we spoke of the RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) procedures in EU. This episode is about the Hepatitis A from frozen berries crisis in EU (2013-2014).

The agenda was the following:

1. Introduction
2. Are there recurrent food safety issues related to Hepatitis A in EU?
3. Do you have a huge Hepatitis outbreak in EU in 2013, can you tell us more?
4. There were multiple outbreaks. Any link between them or with the US outbreak as well?
5. How the Authorities managed the crisis. What they suggested to consumers to avoid the infection from Hepatitis A?
6. In the end, the Authorities were able to trace back the establishments and the causes of the infection?
7. Conclusion

You can listen the full interview HERE

US – Menu and vending machine calorie labeling rules

Calories-Photo-2-1024x487

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized two rules requiring that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machines with 20 or more locations to provide consumers with more nutritional information about the foods they eat outside of the home. The rules are required by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home and people today expect clear information about the products they consume,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Making calorie information available on chain restaurant menus and vending machines is an important step for public health that will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.”

The menu labeling final rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items. Covered food establishments will be required to clearly and conspicuously display calorie information for standard items on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. Seasonal menu items offered for sale as temporary menu items, daily specials and condiments for general use typically available on a counter or table are exempt from the labeling requirements.

Some states, localities and various large restaurant chains are already doing their own forms of menu labeling. The 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, the law establishing nutrition labeling on most foods, did not cover nutrition labeling for restaurants and other ready-to-eat foods. In the years that followed, states and cities created their own labeling requirements for such foods. These federal standards will help avoid situations in which a chain restaurant subject to the federal requirements has to meet different requirements in different states.

The FDA considered more than 1,100 comments from stakeholders and consumers in developing these rules. In response to comments, the FDA narrowed the scope of foods covered by the rule to more clearly focus on restaurant-type food, made other adjustments such as ensuring the flexibility for multi-serving dishes like pizza to be labeled by the slice rather than as a whole pie, and provided establishments additional time to comply with the rule.

In addition, the menu labeling final rule now includes certain alcoholic beverages served in covered food establishments and listed on the menu, but still provides flexibility in how establishments meet this provision. The majority of comments supported including alcohol because of the impact on public health. The menu labeling rule also includes food facilities in entertainment venue chains such as movie theaters and amusement parks.

Restaurants and similar retail food establishments will have one year to comply with the menu labeling requirements.

To help consumers understand the significance of the calorie information in the context of a total daily diet, under the rule, menus and menu boards will include the statement:

“2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.”

The menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide, upon consumer request and as noted on menus and menu boards, written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein.

Entities that are not required to comply with the regulation may “volunteer” to comply by registering with FDA.

The vending machine final rule requires operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie information for food sold from vending machines, subject to certain exceptions. Vending machine operators will have two years to comply with the requirements.

The two final rules are available in the Federal Register:

Written QeA to EU Commission – Traceability of milk powder

Mozzarella_cheese

Question for written answer
to the Commission
Aldo Patriciello (PPE)

10th September 2014

Subject:  Traceability and indication of milk powder

In the last two decades the demand for ‘mozzarella’, that is to say, the product with a protected designation of origin, has increased enormously, and producers have consequently had to deal with a situation in which the demand for milk has exceeded supply.

In some European countries, therefore, the milk is made from milk powder (which is recycled and used several times) and then sold to producers.

This fact also implies that milk powder should be identifiable and traceable.

In the light of the foregoing, does not the Commission believe that, to avoid the continued use of recycled powdered milk, inspection and traceability procedures (as well as indication procedures) should be laid down for milk powder?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission – 30th October 2014

Mozzarella benefiting from a protected geographical indication must respect very strict manufacturing requirements. As such, milk powder cannot be used in the production of such mozzarella products.

However, milk powder, produced in dairy plants approved under EC law, may be used in the manufacturing process of non-protected mozzarella.

Under Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, any food (including food ingredients) must be safe. If a food or food ingredient is not safe, it must not be used in any food manufacturing process.

The abovementioned Regulation also requires the traceability of any substance intended to be, or expected to be, incorporated into a food at all stages of production, processing and distribution. In that respect, it requires food business operators to be able to identify from whom and to whom a product has been supplied as well as to have systems and procedures in place that allow traceability information to be made available to the competent authorities upon request.

Finally, Directive 2000/13/EC does not require a list of ingredients in the case of cheese, provided that no ingredient has been added other than lactic products, enzymes and micro-organism cultures essential to manufacture, or the salt needed for the manufacture of cheese other than fresh cheese and processed cheese.

(Source: European Parliament website)

EU – Breaking news on allergens labelling

food allergies

Last week we had great movement around this topic.

DG Sanco opened a public consultation on Guidelines relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.

The consultation aim is to gather opinions from consumers and stakeholders about the draft document. The consultation will be closed on 4th January 2015.

For the pre-packed foods the rules are quite clear and the main topic is around gluten: the Commission suggest to emphasize not the word “gluten” but the name of the cereal (i.e. wheat, barley, …).

For non pre-packed food, the following Q&A give an idea of what is the line of the Commission and the space given to Member States legislation (see 44.2 FIC Reg.).

Can Member States allow, through national measures, the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances used in the manufacture or preparation of a non-prepacked food, only and simply upon request by the consumer?

The provision of allergen information “upon request” is not to be considered as a “means of providing information’. However, in a spirit of a pragmatic approach, indicatively, national measures may stipulate that detailed allergen/intolerance information regarding the manufacture or preparation of a non-prepacked food may be given upon request by the consumer, provided that the food business operator indicates in a conspicuous place and in such a way as to be easily visible, 11 clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible, that such information can be obtained upon request. This combination would already indicate to the consumer that the non-prepacked food
concerned raises issues relating to allergen/intolerances and that such information is available and easily accessible.

The guidelines should be read in conjunction with the legislation itself. The examples it contains are given for illustration only. The guidelines and examples given in the document cannot be regarded as official interpretation of
the legislation, this being the exclusive reserve of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Moreover it is not a final document, but is better than nothing for our food business operators  in light of the fact that in a week from now the FIC Regulation will enter in application.

Few days before the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of allergenic foods and food ingredients for labelling purposes.

The Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel) updated its previous opinions relative to food ingredients or substances with known allergenic potential listed in Annex IIIa of 2003/89/EC, as amended. These include cereals containing gluten, milk and dairy products, eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, celery, lupin, sesame, mustard and sulphites. The opinion relates to immunoglobulin (Ig)E- and non-IgE-mediated food allergy, to coeliac disease and to adverse reactions to sulphites in food, and it does not address non-immune-mediated adverse reactions to food. It includes information on the prevalence of food allergy in unselected populations, proteins identified as food allergens, cross-reactivities, the effects of food processing on the allergenicity of foods and ingredients, methods for the detection of allergens and allergenic foods, doses observed to trigger adverse reactions in sensitive individuals and risk assessment methodologies that have been used to derive individual and population thresholds for selected allergenic foods.

The huge opinion (286 pages) has many interesting point, but cannot cut clear two of the main issues linked to the possibility to establish thresholds for labelling purposes: which doses trigger adverse reactions (too many variables) and which methods use to detect allergens.

 

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Citrus black spot

citrus

Question for written answer
to the Commission

Giovanni La Via (PPE)

11th September 2014

Subject:  Citrus black spot

Citrus black spot is an endemic fungal disease from South Africa caused by the plant pathogen Guignardia citricarpa, which is now spreading to many European countries. This is an extremely serious matter, since it is one of the most devastating citrus diseases, causing fruit and leaf lesions.

Given that the temporary ban on imports from South Africa is not enough to contain the risk of the disease spreading to Europe:

  • What action will the Commission take to prevent the illness spreading to Europe?

  • What provisions are contained in international trade agreements to prevent the spread of the disease?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission – 23rd October 2014

Phyllosticta citricarpa, the causal agent of citrus black spot (CBS), is a regulated harmful organism with quarantine status in the EU. The territory of the EU is free of citrus black spot.

Under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), countries may adopt phytosanitary requirements to prevent the introduction and/or the spread of regulated harmful organisms in their own territory. Currently, the EU plant health legislation, i.e. Council Directive 2000/29/EC, regulates citrus black spot in order to avoid its introduction from third countries and spread within the EU. Based on the outcome of the pest risk analysis of citrus black spot carried out by the European Food Safety Authority, the current phytosanitary requirements are being revised.

In the meantime, in order to tackle the number of interceptions in previous years of citrus fruit from South Africa contaminated with citrus black spot, specific emergency measures have been introduced (Decision 2014/422/EU). These measures establish stricter requirements. Taking into account that during the current export season a number of interceptions has been notified by Member States on citrus fruit originating in South Africa, the need for better phytosanitary guarantees at short time has been discussed with the South African authorities. They have decided, from 9 September onwards, to restrict the export of citrus fruit to the EU.

The Commission together with Member States is closely monitoring the interceptions of citrus fruit contaminated with citrus black spot originating in third countries.

There is no international standard regulating the specific phytosanitary conditions for citrus fruit in the international trade.

(Source: European Parliament website)

FVO report – Finland – Poultry meat control system deficiencies

organic-whole-free-range-chicken

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Finland, which took place from 11 to 21 March 2014, in order to evaluate the official food safety control system in place governing the production and placing on the market of poultry meat and products derived therefrom.

The report concludes that Finland has in place an organised official control system based on EU and national legislation, supported by an extensive number of central competent authority guidelines. In general, this control system is applied consistently over time and covers the entire poultry production chain.

However, the control system is weakened by some deficiencies, particularly:

  • The training and the supervision by official veterinarians of slaughterhouse staff performing post-mortem inspection in the slaughterhouses.

  • The application of derogations, not foreseen under EU rules, in relation to ante-and post mortem inspection in slaughterhouses applying discontinuous slaughter.

  • The insufficient supervision and control of the use of food additives and of labelling of mechanically separated meat.

  • Shortcomings at establishment level detected by the audit team which had not previously been noted during official controls.

Moreover, the effectiveness of the system is weakened by the insufficient follow up of the results of the National Internal Audit procedures and some instances of inadequate implementation of the CCA control instructions at local level.

Frutarom Granted Product License for Benolea® by Canada NHPD

Frutarom Granted Product License for Benolea by Canada NHPD

The Canadian Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) granted Frutarom, a product license for its Benolea® cardiovascular health support ingredient. Benolea supports cardiovascular health by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels[1]. A recent clinical study by Endang Susalit, PhD, et al, showed that extract of olive leaf (Olea europaea) was effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension, demonstrating that Benolea can lower blood pressure[2]. As of December, Benolea, manufactured in Wadinswil, Switzerland, using Frutarom’s proprietary HyperPure process, will be available to local dietary supplement manufacturers in Canada.

Benolea will be marketed in Canada by CK Ingredients, an Ontario, Canada-based distributor of specialty food and supplement ingredients.

According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation, research affirms that heart/cardiovascular disease is the No.1 killer in Canada. It also is the most costly disease in Canada, placing the greatest burden on the national health care system. Based on the latest available heart disease and stroke statistics, about 40% of Canadians have high blood cholesterol (Statistics Canada, 2012), and nearly 20% of Canadian adults (about 6 million) have high blood pressure (Wilkins et al, 2010).

Since ancient times, olive leaves have been used for medicinal purposes, exhibiting a wide range of activity, especially for cardiovascular health. Benolea offers the health benefit of olive leaves in a very convenient form for dietary supplement manufacturers

“We are excited to receive the Products Licence for Benolea® from The Canadian Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD),” says Yannick Capelle, Product Manager for Frutarom Health. “Benolea is already marketed successfully as dietary supplements successful sold in the US, Germany, Finland and Bulgaria. We are confident Canada may now also benefit from the introduction of similar products.

[1] Subject to certain limitations set out in said license

[2] Susalit E, et al. Olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract effective in patients with stage-1 hypertension

Petition to limit the use of palm oil in backed goods

Concerned-about-palm-oil-Boycotting-won-t-change-a-thing

More than 40.000 people have joined the petition launched a week ago by IlFattoAlimentare.it on Change.org to stop the massive use of palm oil, present in 95% of baked goods.

Palm oil is the main fat in almost all the cookies, snacks, sweet and savory snacks. Extensive use of this raw material is due to the extremely low cost, and to the fact that it has similar characteristics to the butter. Palm oil has several uses in foodstuff, but is rich in saturated fats and often is not harvested and produced in an ethical and environmental acceptable way (i.e. deforestation, land grabbing, dismal working conditions…).

It could be extremely useful to limit the use of such ingredient and to stimulate product’s reformulation, granting in the meantime that palm oil is harvested in a sustainable way and paid the right price.

To subscribe the petition click here.

FSA UK – Guidance for authorities and food businesses on use of private water supplies in primary production

Water_Save

Annex I, Part A, 4(d) and 5(c) of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 requires that food business operators rearing, harvesting or hunting animals or producing primary products of animal origin, and producing or harvesting plant products, respectively, are to take adequate measures to use potable, or clean water, whenever necessary to prevent contamination. This guidance has been produced to assist enforcement officers and food business operators determine use of appropriate water supplies in primary production operations on farm.

The scope of this guidance is restricted to the use of clean water in primary production activities that are within the scope of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004.

The FSA opened a public consultation and is inviting comments from enforcement authorities and food business operators on its guidance document. You can find this useful and peculiar document HERE

Responses are requested by: Wednesday, 18 February 2015. Within three months of a consultation ending FSA aims to publish a summary of responses received.

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Food frauds countermeasures

interrogation point

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

25th September 2014

Subject:  Securing a safe and transparent food chain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: European Parliament website)

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

E.coli O157 H7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 ° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.

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

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

PREPARING PRODUCT FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit
www.fsis.usda.gov

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend-Edition-Image

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

CHINA

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

EU

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

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

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

USA

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

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

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

Weekend-Edition-Image

Here’s my article selection of the week:

EU

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

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

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

CHINA

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

NUTRITION

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

USA

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

– New App Shows Health Inspection Records for Nearby Restaurants, by James Andrews, on Foodsafetynews.com.

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

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

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

978-84-9059-274-8

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

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

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

http://www.tienda.aranzadi.es/productos/libros/introduccion-al-derecho-alimentario-en-china/6029/4294967293

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

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

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

interrogation point

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

3rd September 2014

Subject:  Labelling of organic foods and counterfeit products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1) COM(2014)179 final ; http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/documents/eu-policy/european-action-plan/act_en.pdf

(Source: European Parliament website)

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