Written QeA to EU Commission – EU observatory on traceability on preserved tuna imports?

Question for written answer to the Commission

José Blanco López (S&D) – 9 February 2015

Subject:  Need for a Community observatory on traceability to monitor preserved tuna imports to the EU

According to various studies carried out by Interatún and other laboratories with links to the Spanish tuna canning sector, which is responsible for 67% of EU production and 20.140 direct jobs, 85% of the imported preserved tuna that is marketed in the EU does not comply with the obligatory rules for retail sales.

It should be pointed out that, of the 733.000 tonnes of preserved tuna consumed in Europe last year, over half, specifically 383.000 tonnes, came from third countries. According to the sector’s estimations, Spain, which produces 235.000 tonnes, could produce 146.600 tonnes more and create another 8.435 direct jobs if imports that fail to comply with the hygiene-sanitary standards required from Member States were banned from the EU market.

The tuna canning sector therefore proposes that a Community observatory on traceability should be set up, which it estimates could reduce our dependence on preserved tuna imports by 20% in the EU.

Are there any plans in this regard?

What measures of control are currently applied and with what results?

Are any new measures of control planned?

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

Under European Union legislation on fisheries control and on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU)(1), marine fisheries and aquaculture products imported into the Union for human consumption must comply with Union’s traceability standards. In so doing, it is also possible to ensure the legality of the catches. These products must be accompanied by a catch certificate validated by the vessel flag State certifying that such catches have been made in accordance with applicable conservation and management measures. The level of verification carried out by the Member States has improved significantly and has seen more than 200 refusals of importation, since 2010.

Insofar as the health area is concerned, all products of animal origin imported into the Union are subject to compulsory veterinary checks in border inspection posts (BIPs) to ensure that they comply with the relevant import conditions. Imports must meet sanitary requirements which are at least equivalent to those provided for in Union legislation(2). Inspectors carry out documentary, identity and physical checks, including the verification of the labelling and the traceability of the products to verify this. In 2014, 15.441 consignments of preserved tuna in cans were checked in Union BIPs, of which 54 were rejected. This indicates that more than 99% of all imported consignments were compliant with Union health legislation.

Given these satisfactory results, both in the fields of IUU or health legislation, it is not planned to organise a Union observatory on traceability for imported preserved tuna.

Import controls will be maintained at the same level of vigilance and any increase in the occurrence of rejections will result in appropriate measures laid down in Union legislation.


(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20.11.2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, OJ L 343/1, 22.12.2009 — Cf. in particular Article 58 and Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29.9.2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, OJ L 286/1, 29.10.2008.
(2) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28.1.2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, OJ L 31, 1.2.2002 — Cf. in particular Article 11.

(Source: EU Parliament)

Food recalls in EU – Week 16/2015

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

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

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

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

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

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

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

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seizures:

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

5. Border rejections:

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