Food recalls in EU – Week 27-28/2015

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: undeclared gluten and egg in cream of potato & spinach soup from Germany, following a consumer complaint. Notified from United Kingdom, distributed also to Ireland and Italy;

– Allergens: traces of almond in hot paprika and chili powder from China, following company’s own check. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Albania, Cyprus and Germany;

– Allergens: undeclared sulphite (17.0 mg/kg – ppm) in sweets from Belgium, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to France;

– Allergens: undeclared gluten, soya, nuts and lactose (ingredients list in Danish, Finnish and Swedish is missing on the label) in icecream from Germany, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark;

– Foreign bodies: plastic fragments in tofu basilico from Germany, following company’s own check. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland;

– Foreign bodies: rat droppings in breakfast cereals from the United Kingdom, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Norway;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of primary aromatic amines (7.48; 0.005; 0.009 mg/kg – ppm) from plastic kitchenware from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by Poland, distributed also to Slovakia;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of aluminium (32.8; 14.7 mg/l) from ceramic balls from China, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium;

– Mycotoxins: patulin (147 µg/kg – ppb) in apple juice from Belgium, following company’s own check. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to France.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Foreign bodies: rodent (mouse tail) in chocolate and hazelnut muesli from Belgium, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Greece, distributed also to Denmark;

– Non pathogenic micro-organisms: hazelnut kernels from Sweden infested with mouldsfollowing a consumer complaint. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Iceland;

– Non pathogenic micro organisms: chilled diced or shredded chicken and pork products from Poland infested with yeastsfollowing a company’s own check. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Greenland, Germany and Faeroe Islands;

– Pesticides residues: chlorpyrifos (2.3 mg/kg – ppm) in celery from Laos, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark;

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: sulfonamide (865 µg/kg – ppb) unauthorised in honey from Germany, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom;

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: traces of almond in sauces from the Netherlands, following a company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Curacao, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom;

– Allergens: traces of milk (20 mg/kg – ppm) in marzipan with honey and chocolate from Germany, via Austria, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovenia, distributed also to Croatia, Estonia, France, Poland and Slovakia;

– Composition: high content of aluminium (253 mg/kg – ppm) in glass noodles from Vietnam, following an official control on the market. Notified by Germany, distributed also to France;

– Heavy metals: cadmium (0.362 mg/kg – ppm) and mercury (4.45 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen swordfish from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Germany and Ireland;

– Industrial contaminants: sum of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorobifenyls (22 pg WHO TEQ/g) in eggs from the Netherlands, following company’s own check. Notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium;

– Pesticide residues: chlorpyrifos (0.09 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen broccoli from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Estonia.

4. Seizures:

In Italy we had seizures of stainless steel knives from China for migration of chromium (18.3 mg/l) and of manganese (1.1 mg/l), of complete feed for aquaculture for presence of ruminant DNA and of chilled swordfish loins (Xiphias gladius) from Spain for presence of mercury (1.9 mg/kg – ppm)following official controls on the market.

We had also a seizure

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) for egusi melon seeds from Nigeria and for emu oil capsules and liquid emu oil from the United States, via Canada
  • absence of Common Entry Document (CED) for dried beans from Nigeria
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 103; Tot. = 119 / B1 = 21.4; Tot. = 25.9 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell and in pistachio kernels (Tot. = 26.9 µg/kg – ppb) from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 14.6; Tot. = 15.4 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts in shell, in unshelled peanuts (B1 = 5.4; Tot. = 17.9 µg/kg – ppb), in groundnuts kernels (B1 = 12.2; Tot. = 24 µg/kg – ppb) and in groundnuts (Tot. = 95 µg/kg – ppb) from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 162.6; Tot. = 242.9 µg/kg – ppb) in peanut chips from Nigeria
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 18.85; Tot. = 11.84 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Brazil
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 27.1 µg/kg – ppb) in roasted pistachios from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 30; Tot. = 33 µg/kg – ppb) in nutmeg from Indonesia
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 28; Tot. = 31 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled pistachios, in pistachios in shell (B1 = 82.8; Tot. = 89 µg/kg – ppb) and in shelled almonds (B1 = 15 µg/kg – ppb) from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 89.4; Tot. = 93.9 µg/kg – ppb) and ochratoxin A (45 µg/kg – ppb) in and absence of labelling on mixed spices from Kuwait
  • attempt to illegally import dried beans from Nigeria
  • chlorpyrifos (0.12 mg/kg – ppm), cyhalothrin (0.37 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance dichlorvos (0.32 mg/kg – ppm) in dried beans from Nigeria
  • endosulfan (0.14 mg/kg – ppm) and buprofezin (0.60 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from South Korea
  • FCM: migration of cadmium (0.453 mg/dm²) from ceramic spoons from China
  • FCM: migration of nickel (672 mg/kg – ppm) from wine stopper from China, via Hong Kong
  • high counts of coliforms (160000 CFU/g) and of Enterobacteriaceae (170000 CFU/g) in peanut kernels from Turkey
  • fenitrothion (0.05 mg/kg – ppm) in olives in brine from Egypt
  • mercury (1.893 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled tuna from Ecuador
  • peanuts in shell from China infested with moulds and with mites
  • poor temperature control (-4.9; -6.7; -5.5 °C) of frozen whole chicken from Ukraine, (+6 <–> 11 °C) of chilled fish from Pakistan, (+8.8; 6.8; 7.4; 6.6; 7.0 °C) of chilled swordfish (Xiphias gladius) and (> -12 °C) of frozen boneless beef meat (Bos taurus) from Chile, of chilled fish from India, (-3.5<–> -10.4 °C) of frozen shimps (Penaeus vannamei) from Malaysia and (-7.6, – 8.2, – 7.8, – 8.5, -10.8, -7.1 °C) of chilled tuna (Thunnus albacares) from Sri Lanka
  • Salmonella spp. (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in paan/betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • Salmonella (present /25g) in frozen salted chicken, in frozen salted chicken preparation and in frozen salted boneless skinless chicken breasts from Thailand
  • too high content of colour E 102 – tartrazine (0.08 %) and unauthorised use of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF (0.005 %) and of colour E 129 – Allura Red AC (0.08 %) in canned preserved vegetables from Mexico
  • unauthorised colour Sudan 4 (0.8 mg/kg – ppm) in palm oil from Ghana

E-Book – FDA Requirements in a nutshell

Very similarly to EU, many new food business owners get discouraged when they see how confusing it is to decipher FDA’s regulations on proper food product labeling. The website is so extensive and regulations so numerous, that it seems impossible to read through all of them. And that’s not all. When you start reading frequently asked questions by food producers, or when you visit forums on this topic in the Internet, you realize there are many ambiguities that can be resolved only by consulting an expert. Anyway, e-book and guidelines are useful resources to have at least a general idea of the task.

Recently I found the following e-book, which tries to simplify FDA’s regulations and summarize the basics of food labeling in a visually engaging, easy-to-understand way. It shows you that the common food packaging label is made up of five parts: statement of identity, the product’s net weight, your address, ingredients list and nutrition facts. Further you’ll learn what every nutrition facts label needs to have and where it needs to be placed in order to be always visible to the consumer. The text is full of links to relevant FDA website pages.

Food producers can be exempted from food labeling and this ebook provides links to particular pages that explain how a food business owner can apply for exemption (for example, if the business is small and doesn’t exceed a certain amount of profit per year).

This ebook can also be helpful to consumers, because they often don’t realize the importance of a food label, the trouble a food producer goes through to accurately inform buyers about their product, and the real meanings of some information.

You can download the ebook and become a bit more knowledgeable about the USA food labelling.