Food recalls in EU – Week 8/2016

Last week on EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for food and feed) we can find the following relevant notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

  • Listeria monocytogenes (presence CFU/g) in organic falafel nuggets from the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium, France, Ireland, Spain and United Kingdom;
  • Mercury (1.18 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen blue shark slices (Prionace glauca) from Spain, following company’s own check. Notified by Italy;
  • Salmonella (presence/25g) in raw milk brie cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Spain;
  • Salmonella Kentucky (present) in dried parsley from Egypt, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Belgium, Finland, France and Netherlands;
  • Traces of milk (casein 0.03 mg/item) in frozen fish gratin from Sweden, with raw material from Denmark, following company’s own check. Notified by Sweden, distributed also to Norway:
  • Undeclared milk ingredient in swiss rolls from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Italy and Portugal;
  • Undeclared mustard and celery in spice mix from Sweden, following company’s own check. Notified by Sweden, distributed also to Finland, Norway and Denmark.

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

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

  • Listeria monocytogenes (570 CFU/g) in frozen smoked trout from Turkey, via Bulgaria, following an official control on the market. Notified by Netherlands;
  • Mercury (1.845 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish loins from Vietnam, via Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia;
  • Plastic fragments in candy bars from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to (see links embedded to reach some of the press release-public warning): Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, GreeceHong Kong, Hungary,  Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, New Caledonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United KingdomWest Bank and Gaza Strip;
  • Unauthorised substance yohimbine in and insufficient labelling of food supplement from the United States, via Sweden, following an official control on the market. Notified by Norway;
  • Unauthorised substance yohimbine in food supplement from the United States, following an official control on the market. Notified by Norway, distributed also to Sweden.

4. Seizures:

5. Border rejections:

Country of notification Countries concerned Subject Action Taken
Italy Italy, United States (O) aflatoxins (B1 = 10.4; Tot. = 11.6 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled almonds from the United States re-dispatch
Ireland Ireland, Pakistan (O), United Kingdom aflatoxins (B1 = 15.7; Tot. = 16.4 µg/kg – ppb) in spice mix from Pakistan official detention
Italy China (O), Italy aflatoxins (B1 = 5.3; Tot. = 6.5 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled peanuts from China  
Italy Egypt (O), Italy aflatoxins (B1 = 92; Tot. = 107 / B1 = 5.1; Tot. = 5.9 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Egypt placed under customs seals
Germany Germany, Turkey (O) aflatoxins (Tot. = 51.3 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted pistachios and almonds from Turkey import not authorised
Belgium Belgium, Gambia (O) benzo(a)pyrene (7 µg/kg – ppb) in smoked sardinella (Sardinella spp.) from the Gambia import not authorised
Italy India (O), Italy cadmium (2.6 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen squid chunks from India import not authorised
United Kingdom South Korea (O), United Kingdom cadmium (2.9 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen squid (Nototodarus spp.) from South Korea import not authorised
United Kingdom Laos (O), United Kingdom, Vietnam high count of Escherichia coli (1000 CFU/g) in praew leaves (Vietnamese coriander – Polygonum odoratum) from Laos, via Vietnam destruction
Italy Italy, Thailand (O) mercury (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in pet food from Thailand import not authorised
Italy Commission Services, Italy, Portugal, Vietnam (O) prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) (1.43 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen pangasius fillets from Vietnam import not authorised
Greece Greece, India (O) Salmonella (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India import not authorised
United Kingdom Laos (O), United Kingdom, Vietnam Salmonella (in 4 out of 5 samples /25g) and high count of Escherichia coli (620 CFU/g) in frozen perilla (Perilla frutescens) from Laos, via Vietnam destruction
Italy Italy, Vietnam (O) too high level of overall migration (141 mg/kg – ppm) from nitrile gloves (food contact materials) from Vietnam re-dispatch
Poland Japan (O), Poland unauthorised colour Rose Bengal in marinated bamboo shoots from Japan destruction
United Kingdom Thailand (O), United Kingdom unauthorised substance carbofuran (0.01 mg/kg – ppm) in aubergines from Thailand destruction
Italy India (O), Italy unauthorised substance propargite (0.29 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from India placed under customs seals

(Source: RASFF Portal)

EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement

On 18 October 2013, EU and Canada have reached a political agreement on the key elements of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement will remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment. At a later stage, the agreement will need to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament.

Once implemented, the agreement is expected to increase two-way bilateral trade in goods and services by 23% or €26 billion, fostering growth and employment on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some economic data:

  • In 2012 Canada was the EU’s 12th most important trading partner, accounting for 1.8% of the EU’s total external trade. Based on 2011 figures, the EU was Canada’s second most important trading partner, after the US, representing 10.4% of Canada’s total external trade.
  • The value of bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Canada was €61.8 billion in 2012. Machinery, transport equipment and chemicals dominate the EU’s exports of goods to Canada, and also constitute an important part of the EU’s imports of goods from Canada.
  • The economic model of the Joint Study  predicts annual real income gains of approximately €11.6 billion for the EU and €8.2 billion for Canada within seven years following the implementation of an agreement.
  • Total EU exports to Canada are estimated to go up by 24.3% or €17 billion, while Canadian bilateral exports to the EU are predicted to increase by 20.6% or €8.6 billion.
  • 50% of the total expected gains for the EU are related to trade in services, 25% to the removal of tariffs and the remaining 25% of the GDP gains can be reached by the dismantling of Non-tariff barriers (NTB).

The main sector involved, talking about food, are the dairy sector, fruit and vegetables, oils, processed foods and shellfish. On the European side the news has create great enthusiasms, but in Canada the reaction seems to be not the same!

Canadian, in the Joint Study, emphasized that NTBs are a particular irritant with respect to meat exports (beef, pork, etc.) and that specific technical barriers include the EU’s Third Country Meat Directive (requirements for production plant standards and meat hygiene standards) and the EU’s ban on hormones in livestock production.  But, if the meat sector is trying to find a solution to the old disputes, establishing quotas for the import in EU (without hormones…), and the oilseed, wheat and barley producers seem quite happy about the deal, the dairy sector is really upset.

In December 2007 Canada published the final amendments to its Food and Drug Regulations and Dairy Products Regulations on compositional standards for cheese. The new standards were perceived by EU exporters as creating unnecessary obstacles to trade. On the other hand, as indicated in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement attached to the Regulation, the new standards were expected to lead to higher returns for Canadian milk producers.

Particular concerns were raised by the EU stakeholders about the licensing requirements and the provisions as regards the casein content of the milk and total protein content of cheese ratios and their definitions.

I am not aware of the technical details, that have to be defined in the final text, but the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is strongly asking the withdrawal of the agreement, assessing that:

  • The deal would displace local products with subsidized cheeses from EU and risk Canadian small businesses being shut down or put out of business;
  • The EU already has a large proportion of the Canadian cheese market. Canada’s TRQ already allows imports of 20,412 tonnes of cheese tariff-free. Two-thirds of that is already allocated to the EU;
  • Consumers will not see any difference in price as a result of this CETA giveaway as the vast majority of EU cheese already comes into Canada with little or no tariffs.

I will forward this post to some friends in Canada for more insights, but I’d love to gather a comment from anyone has more information about this dispute!