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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Food recalls in EU – Week 49

This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we don’t have any recalls from consumers in EU, between the alert notifications.

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

Allergens: too high content of gluten in sweet corn flour, following an official control on the market. Origin and notification from Poland.

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

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak suspected caused by chilled mussels, following a consumer complaint. Origin from Ireland and Netherlands, notification from United Kingdom, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic and France;

Biocontaminants: histamine in canned sardines in olive oil, following a company’s own check. Origin Morocco, notification from France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in chilled herring fillets in oil, following company’s own check. Origin Netherlands, notification from France;

Allergens: undeclared soya in fine poultry pate, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland, notification from Czech Republic;

Heavy metals: lead in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin Austria, notification from Slovenia.

 Heavy metals: mercury in frozen sliced blue shark, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notification from Italy.

In Switzerland we have also a seizure of green papaya from Thailand for presence of unauthorised genetically modified organism, following a border control.

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, aflatoxins in peanut kernels and in blanched groundnuts from China, in pistachio kernels from Afghanistan (via Turkey), in organic ginger from India and in dried figs from Turkey, Salmonella poona in fresh water spinach from Sri Lanka, suspicion of fraudulent health certificate for almonds from the United States (via Turkey), absence of health certificate for graviola powder, cat’s claw powder and Chanca Piedra powder from Peru, for chicken and chive rice crackers declared as wheat crackers from China and for fresh okra from India , poor hygienic state of soft and spelt wheat from Armenia, unsuitable organoleptic characteristics and poor hygienic state of bananas from Colombia, dimethoate and hexaconazole in fresh mint from Morocco, buprofezin, triazophos, acetamiprid and fipronil and unauthorised substance isocarbophos in green tea from China.

For food contact material we have a border rejection for migration of cadmium from plates from China.