Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 45)

Here’s my article selection of the week:

EU

– Environment Committee backs flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops, from European Parliament ENVI Committee: long-awaited draft plans to allow EU member states to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms on their own territory even if it is allowed at EU level won the support of the Environment Committee on Tuesday. MEPs voted to remove the Council-backed idea of a phase of negotiations with the GMO company, and supported plans to allow member states to ban GMO crops on environmental grounds.

– Italy cracks whip on health claim abusers – fines could reach €5m, by Shane Starling+, on Nutraingredients: regulators in Italy’s €1.2bn food supplements market are cracking the harshest whips against health claims abusers in the EU – a firm was recently fined €250,000 – but will the wounds be deep enough to change the market?

 Fears that German avian flu outbreak could spread, by Ed Bedington, on Globalmeatnews.com: animal health experts are continuing to monitor the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in Germany as the yearly migration of wild birds continues to cause concerns the condition might spread.

CHINA

– China Health Food: New Regulations on Nutritional Supplements, by Rachel Shen, on Chemlinked.com: on Nov. 5, 2014, CFDA released the draft of Administrative Provisions on Nutritional Supplements and Requirements on Dossiers for Nutritional Supplements, which gives detailed instructions on regulatory requirements for nutritional supplements in China. The period for public consultation is until Nov. 30, 2014.

NUTRITION

– Mediterranean diet has ‘lasting’ health benefits, say researchers, by Nathan Gray+, on Nutraingredients.com: the health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean style diet and upping the amount of time spent exercising for a period of just eight weeks can still be seen a year after stopping the regime, according to a new study.

USA

– Food Fraud: Money Scam and Health Hazard, by Beth Krietsch, on Foodsafetynews: despite the common belief that food fraud in the United States is a rarity, the globalized nature of our food supply chain means many of our favorite foods and ingredients travel far and wide before they reach our plates, making adulteration and other types of food fraud a considerate problem here as well.

– New App Shows Health Inspection Records for Nearby Restaurants, by James Andrews, on Foodsafetynews.com.

– Revised FSMA Provisions Need More Tweaks, by Lydia Zuraw, on Foodsafetynews.com: the public is generally pleased with the revised provisions of four rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but the public comments at the Food and Drug Administration’s public meeting Thursday suggest that the agency may have more tweaking to do.

– Unilever: “Just Mayo” Misleads Consumers Because It’s Not “Mayo”, by David Ter Molen, on FoodIdentityblog.com: on October 31, 2014, Unilever filed suit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against Hampton Creek, Inc. for false advertising and unfair competition for selling an egg-free spread under the brand name “Just Mayo.” According to Unilever, the lack of any eggs in the product precludes it from being labeled as “mayonnaise” under federal regulations and consumers are further misled in this regard by the egg on the product label.

Food recalls in EU – Week 27

This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find one recall from consumers in EU between the information for attention notifications:

GMO/Novel foods: unauthorised genetically modified organism in fresh papaya, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand, distributed to France.

Between the alert notifications we can find several withdrawal from the market:

Heavy metals: mercury in herbal food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), distributed to Sweden.

– Heavy metals: lead and mercury in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), distributed to Sweden

– Allergens: undeclared nuts (cashew) in pesto, following a consumer complaint. Origin Italy, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Biotoxins: suspicion of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins in surf clams, following an official control on the market. Origin United Kingdom, distributed also to Netherlands.

Industrial contaminants: dioxins in soya extractions grist (feed), following company’s own check. Origin Austria and Italy, distributed also to Germany.

We have also an interesting seizure:

Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen deer meat, following an official control on the market. Origin Austria, distributed also in Italy.

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, aflatoxins in groundnuts from China, in shelled almonds from the United States, in dried figs from Turkey and in peanuts in shell from Egypt, Salmonella in frozen chicken, chicken meat and turkey breasts from Brazil, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen beef from Brazil, ochratoxin A in black pepper from Indonesia and in raisins from South Africa, illegal import (false certificate) of hake (Merluccius spp) from Ecuador, illegal import of fish gelatine from Taiwan, acetamiprid in tea and green tea from China, unauthorised genetically modified rice cake from China.

Regarding food contact materials we have the following alert:

Migration of primary aromatic amines in pancakes spatulas, following an official control on the market. OriginFrance, distributed also to Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia.