EU audits – Vietnam not compliant for pesticide residues

pesticidesThis report describes the outcome of an audit in Vietnam carried out from 1 to 9 March 2017, as part of the published DG Health and Food Safety audit programme. The objectives of the audit were to assess controls on pesticide residues in fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices intended for export to the European Union (EU), and to follow-up on actions undertaken in response to recommendations of the previous audit, DG(SANCO)/2014-7177.

The report concludes that legislation and implementing procedures are in place to establish a control system for pesticides, but there were significant gaps with the implementation of official controls. Consequently, no effective pesticide control system for food exported to the EU is in place,, including those established by the EU. Some private controls are implemented by individual exporters of fruit and vegetables to the EU, which can contribute to compliance of their produce with EU maximum residue levels.

Some limited measures were taken by the competent authorities to address the recommendations of the previous audit DG(SANCO)/2014-7177, but overall very little progress has been made, and the recommendations had not been satisfactorily addressed.

(Source: EU DG Sante)

FDA Investigates Listeria Outbreak Linked to Frozen Vegetables

The FDA, CDC and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis identified in March 2016.

The CDC reports that eight people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from three states (California, Maryland and Washington) from September 2013 – March 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 56 to 86, with a median age of 76. Epidemiology and laboratory evidence available at this time indicates that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, and sold under various brand names are one likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. As discussed further below, CRF Frozen Foods has initiated a recall of certain products.

As part of a routine product sampling program the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected packages of frozen vegetable products from a retail location and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from True Goodness by Meijer brand frozen organic white sweet cut corn and frozen organic petite green peas. Both products were produced by CRF Frozen Foods.

Whole genome sequencing showed that the Listeria monocytogenes isolate from the frozen corn was closely related genetically to seven bacterial isolates from ill people, and the Listeria monocytogenes isolate from the frozen peas was closely related genetically to one isolate from an ill person. This close genetic relationship provides additional evidence that the people in this outbreak became ill from eating frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods.

Based on the positive findings by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, on April 22, 2016, CRF recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On May 2, 2016, following a conversation between FDA, CDC and the firm, CRF Frozen Foods expanded its recall to include all of its frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods’ Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. Approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands were recalled.

Additionally, March 2016 environmental samples collected by FDA from Oregon Potato Company, located in Pasco, WA, were found to be closely related genetically to seven of the isolates of ill people associated with this outbreak. Based on this information, Oregon Potato Company voluntarily recalled wholesale onion products, which led to subsequent downstream customer recalls, one disclaimer icon of which publicly disclosed Oregon Potato Company as its product source. FDA is working to identify other parts of the relevant supply chain that may have product relating to this outbreak.

(Source: FDA website)