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

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

EU

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

UK

– FSA promises probe after sheep’s milk protein found in UK goats’ cheese, by Mark Astley+ , on dairyreporter.com: 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 foodmanufacture.co.uk: 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.

USA

– Are Recalls an Effective Element of Food Safety?, by James Andrews, on foodsafetynews.com: 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 foodproductiondaily.com: 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 foodsafetynews.com: 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 foodlawfirm.com: “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.”

COOL – EC seems to reject full country of origin labeling for meat products

An article published today on GlobalMeatNews.com said that, accordingly to some voices from Brussels, the EU Commission, which has to release a recommendation on this subject before 13th December 2013, following the provisions of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (1169/2011), intends to adopt as mandatory only the indication of the country where a source animal is finished and slaughtered.

The report is still to be finalized, so what is said above could change in the final version; anyway, it seems to me an interesting insight, and also quite a realistic option.

A full country of origin labeling could burden the sector with high cost, in an historical period in which the costs are high and the consumption of meat is decreasing in more than one market, both for economical and diet choices.

Another argument to sustain this solution is that Commissioner Borg, in several speeches about this topic, has stressed that a full origin labeling is not a useful instruments to prevent fraud like the “horsemeat scandal” and so it not seem so necessary.

The final report could be published at the end of October 2013. We are eager to read the final decision and its rationale.