FVO Report – Italy deficiencies of official controls on milk and milk products

The following FVO report stress several and persistent profiles of non compliance of the Italian official controls system on milk and milk products: the recommendations made in 2010, 2012 and 2013 were not properly addressed.

The audit took place in Italy from 9 to 20 March 2015 in order to evaluate the official controls related to production and storage of milk and milk products, and the follow-up action taken by the competent authorities (CAs) in response to the relevant recommendations made in the previous audit reports.

Three Regions (Abruzzo, Puglia and Piemonte) were visited. Official controls are carried out frequently according to control plans, are risk based and well documented. However, the establishment reports contain very little relevant information and many deficiencies are overlooked. In addition, there is very little effective follow-up. Communication within local CA units remains poor. In the eight establishments visited, among the deficiencies found by the Food and Veterinary Office audit team, only a few had been identified and documented by the CA.

Audits (Article 4.6 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004) are carried out by central and Regional levels. The reports of these audits contain findings on non-compliances and systemic problems. Of the seven establishments visited (milk collection centre not included) in three Regions (six provinces) from the point of view of structure, maintenance, equipment, cleanliness and hygiene of operations, – four were satisfactory (with different levels of remarks and deficiencies) and three were unsatisfactory. There was no immediate public health risk. Serious deficiencies in official controls were observed on dairy holdings visited.

Raw milk quality standards (Section IX Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004): National derogations notified to the Commission for 2008 -2013 for all milk are still in place for sheep and goat milk. Food business operators (FBOs) take samples but these are not always analysed and laboratory performance is not always reliable. The CAs are not always notified of non-compliant results and there is no system in place to ensure notification – CA does take action when informed. There is no national system for official monitoring of FBO own checks related to raw milk parameters.

Residues: There were procedures in place for inhibitor controls in all establishments visited. However, out-of-date kits were in use in three establishments. The requirement to maintain records of treatment with veterinary medicines on milk production holdings is not enforced.

A number of recommendations have been made to the CA with a view of addressing the deficiencies identified during this audit. At least five of these or very similar recommendations have already been made in the Audit Report DG(SANCO)2010-8502, 2012-6333 and 2013-6875 but have not been properly addressed or implemented.

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.