Written QeA to EU Commission – Traceability of milk powder

Question for written answer
to the Commission
Aldo Patriciello (PPE)

10th September 2014

Subject:  Traceability and indication of milk powder

In the last two decades the demand for ‘mozzarella’, that is to say, the product with a protected designation of origin, has increased enormously, and producers have consequently had to deal with a situation in which the demand for milk has exceeded supply.

In some European countries, therefore, the milk is made from milk powder (which is recycled and used several times) and then sold to producers.

This fact also implies that milk powder should be identifiable and traceable.

In the light of the foregoing, does not the Commission believe that, to avoid the continued use of recycled powdered milk, inspection and traceability procedures (as well as indication procedures) should be laid down for milk powder?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission – 30th October 2014

Mozzarella benefiting from a protected geographical indication must respect very strict manufacturing requirements. As such, milk powder cannot be used in the production of such mozzarella products.

However, milk powder, produced in dairy plants approved under EC law, may be used in the manufacturing process of non-protected mozzarella.

Under Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, any food (including food ingredients) must be safe. If a food or food ingredient is not safe, it must not be used in any food manufacturing process.

The abovementioned Regulation also requires the traceability of any substance intended to be, or expected to be, incorporated into a food at all stages of production, processing and distribution. In that respect, it requires food business operators to be able to identify from whom and to whom a product has been supplied as well as to have systems and procedures in place that allow traceability information to be made available to the competent authorities upon request.

Finally, Directive 2000/13/EC does not require a list of ingredients in the case of cheese, provided that no ingredient has been added other than lactic products, enzymes and micro-organism cultures essential to manufacture, or the salt needed for the manufacture of cheese other than fresh cheese and processed cheese.

(Source: European Parliament website)

Updates about EU increased checks at the borders

Controls performed at European Union borders on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 continue to deliver results and, as a consequence, the EU is removing some products from the list of feed and food of non-animal origin that are subject to an increased level of official controls by national competent authorities at the border. As a result of the satisfactory results reported by Member States, dried noodles from China will be de-listed from the Regulation’s Annex I. This means that these products will no longer be subject to the reinforced scheme (the checks performed by competent authorities will again be ‘routine’ ones).
Concerning new listings, the following commodities will be added to the list of feed and food which are subject to reinforced border checks: enzymes (feed and food) from India at a control frequency of physical and identity checks of 50% for their possible contamination with chloramphenicol, betel leaves from India and Thailand at a control frequency of 10% for their possible contamination with Salmonella, groundnuts (peanuts) and derived products (feed and food) originating from Sudan at a control frequency of 50% due to their possible contamination with aflatoxins and vine leaves from Turkey at a control frequency of 10% due to the possible occurrence of pesticide residues.
Moreover, a number of amendments will be introduced to Annex II to the Regulation (the Common Entry Document), particularly in order to cover the cases in which onward transportation of consignments has been authorised pursuant to Article 8 of the Regulation.
At the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 4 March 2014, Member States endorsed the Commission’s proposal to amend the Annex to the Regulation by reflecting the abovementioned changes.
The amendments are expected to enter into force as of 1 April 2014.

(Source: DG Sanco)