FVO report – India – Microbiological contamination in seeds for human consumption

This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in India from 9 to 17 December 2014. The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the control systems in place to control microbiological contamination in seeds for human consumption (in particular Salmonella contamination of sesame seeds as well as seeds for sprouting e.g mung beans and other seeds for sprouting) intended for export to the European Union (EU) in the framework of Regulations (EC) No 178/2002 and No 852/2004. The evaluation of procedures in place for certification for imports into the EU of seeds for the production of sprouts as required by Regulation (EU) No 211/2013 was also assessed.

This FVO audit to India on the microbiological controls of sesame seeds was undertaken as part of the 2014 FVO audit programme due to the number of Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) notifications linked to this issue.

There is no requirement for exporters of sesame seeds to the EU to be registered with the Shellac and Forest Products Export Promotion Council (SHEFEXIL), the competent authority responsible for sesame seeds. A number of exporters who were mentioned in RASFF notifications were not members of SHEFEXIL and could not be followed up by SHEFEXIL.

A number of consignments that were tested and found to be Salmonella and E. coli free prior to shipment from India were found to be Salmonella positive in the EU.

Overall, there are a number of significant gaps in existence which cannot assure that sesame seeds exported to the EU are safe. The CA responsible for sesame seeds, SHEFEXIL, does not carry out any controls on growers, processors or exporters of sesame seed. In addition, there is a failure to follow up RASFF notifications relating to sesame seeds in India. This is mainly due to a lack of coordination between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry which is the national contact point for RASFF in India and SHEFEXIL, which is responsible for following up on RASFF notifications relating to sesame seeds. Laboratories visited were capable of undertaking the relevant testing for Salmonella detection. However, the approach to sampling of consignments for microbiological testing prior to export could not ensure statistical representativeness.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) confirmed that they are the CA for sprouted seeds and seeds for sprouting. APEDA is aware of the certification requirements for imports into the EU of sprouts and seeds intended for the production of sprouts as required by Regulation (EU) No 211/2013. APEDA has received no requests from exporters for such certification to date, thus no certificates have been issued.

Thank god it’s Friday! Quick news from the world (Week 34)

This is a new weekly appointment from Foodlawlatest.com, which I hope you will appreciate. Please let me have your feedback. It’s a summary of interesting and/or particular news I read during the week and that I am glad to share with all our readers.

Good reading…and happy weekend!


– Canada Now Requiring Labels for Mechanically Tenderized Beef on www.foodsafetynews.com: Canada’s requirement that all mechanically tenderized beef (MTB) be labeled as such and include instructions for safe cooking came into effect on Aug. 21.


– China Inspection and Quarantine: Importation of Dutch Potatoes to China Approved: legal basis and import requirements of the Chinese legislation, examined by Rachel Shen, Chemlinked, Reach24 Consulting Group;

 Chinese retailer introduces infant formula recall insurance, by Mark Astley+ on www.dairyreporter.com, 25-Aug-2014: Chinese retailer Suning Redbaby has reportedly begun offering an infant formula insurance policy that compensates customers in the event of a recall.


– Evidence links salmonella outbreak to imported eggs, by Rod Addy+ on www.foodmanufacture.co.uk, 26-Aug-2014: Health and food safety authorities have confirmed the salmonella outbreak in Europe publicised earlier this week has been linked to eggs.

EU and Cape Verde agree on new 4 year Protocol to Fisheries Partnership Agreementby European Commission, DG Mare website: the European Union and Cape Verde have agreed on a new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Cape Verde. The four-year Protocol will replace the current Protocol which expires on 31 August 2014.It will allow 71 EU vessels to fish for tuna and other highly migratory species in Cape Verdean waters. In return, the Union has increased its financial contribution and will pay Cape Verde €550 000 per year for the first two years of application and €500 000 per year for the final two years of application.


– Lindt has had enough of Indian regulations, by Nandini Kumar, Bangalore Mirror Bureau: Lindt & Sprungli has decided to fold its operations in the country after more than two of its consignments brought into India (in August 2013 and January 2014) were sent back due to a new set of import rules.


Ghirardelli Settles “White Chocolate” Labeling Suit for $5.25 Million, by David Ter Molen, FoodIdentity Blog: Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. has agreed to pay approximately $5.25 million to resolve a putative class action that accused the company of improperly advertising certain products as containing “white chocolate” when they failed to contain cocoa butter, which is required for “white chocolate” or “white chocolate flavor” under FDA regulations.


Information Note: Ebola and Food Safety: if food products are properly prepared and cooked, humans cannot become infected by consuming them: the Ebola virus is inactivated through cooking. Basic hygiene measures can prevent infection in people in direct contact with infected animals or with raw meat and by-products. Basic hygiene measures include regular hand washing and changing of clothes and boots before and after touching these animals and their products. However, sick and diseased animal should never be consumed.