Food Allergy Forum Report and New Youtube Channel

On 1st-3rd April 2019 the 2nd Food Allergy Forum was held in Amsterdam. The conference hosted speakers coming from Europe, North-America and Australia and offered a mixed approach to the topic: regulatory, clinical and scientific.

It was the perfect occasion to launch our new YouTube Channel and start with Bert Popping and FOCOS our new editorial project: 100” Food News.  Huge thanks to Bert and Carmen Diaz Amigo for the stunning graphics. Subscribe our YouTube channels and stay tuned for more news!

During the first day the most discussed issue was the opportunity to finally define thresholds for the use of precautionary allergen statements on the labels. Some regulators were pretty shy on the topic, explaining how we do not have conclusive data for all the food allergens and for all subjects’ categories. Very true, as well as the fact that the industry is taking responsibility every day in managing such situations and deciding how to protect consumers: after 20 years of discussions I think it’s time for the regulators to step in, Codex Alimentarius included. Maybe we would not have the best thresholds/action levels possible, but at least we will have something to work on and an instrument to standardized the approach. Today many countries are defining their own thresholds through soft law and non-binding guidance, and the outputs might differ greatly.

Would we really think that a jungle of different numbers would help the industry to adopt a more rationale approach to the precautionary allergen labeling? And what about consumers understanding of such indications?

This and much more in the first 100” Food News and in Bert’s full report about the conference.

FVO report – Canada: meat and meat products for export in EU

The report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Canada from 2 to 15 May 2014.

The objective of the audit was to evaluate the capacity of the Canadian competent authorities (CA), the Canadian Food Safety Authority (CFIA) to implement and to enforce the sanitary measures and the control systems put in place to fulfil the requirements for fresh meat, meat products, minced meat and meat preparations and casings for human consumption intended for export to the European Union (EU) under the auspices of the “Agreement between the European Community and Canada on sanitary measures to protect public health and animal health in respect of trade in live animals and animal products.” The initial scope of the audit was extended to cover also the official controls in relation to veterinary medicinal products (VMP) and residues in live horses and horse meat.

The FVO audit team visited five slaughterhouses with integrated cutting plants (two of these visited by both sub-teams on different days for horses or bovines/bison) and one casing establishment. The FVO audit team also visited one border crossing (horses imported from the USA), three feed lots (horse, bovine and bison), one wholesaler and one retailer of VMPs as well as one CFIA area office.

No major problems were identified in relation to general and specific hygiene requirements in any of the slaughter establishments visited. However, the casing establishment which was not exporting to the EU at the time of the FVO audit did not fulfil the requirements for EU listing. The CFIA does not ensure that the lists of establishments approved for export to the EU are kept up to date and communicated to the Commission as required. After the FVO audit was announced several requests for de-listing of establishments were made by the CA.

The FVO audit also identified shortcomings in relation to official controls over the traceability of bovine animals and bison destined for export to the EU.

No shortcomings were identified in relation to the implementation of the CFIA Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Programme. The Growth Enhancement Products (GEP) free programme for bovines and bison is well documented but deficiencies in the design and the implementation of the programme question its robustness.

There are serious concerns in relation to the reliability of the controls over both imported and domestic horses destined for export to the EU. It cannot be guaranteed that horses have not been treated with illegal substances within the last 180 days before slaughter.

The residue monitoring in horse meat has been largely implemented as foreseen and in line with Codex Alimentarius requirements but the effectiveness of follow-up of non-compliant results has been variable. Whilst the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfil its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions. The CFIA is in this regard hampered by a lack of direct powers over primary producers and transient agents (dealers).

Here you can find the response from the Competent Authority to the report recommendations.