Food recalls in EU- Week 24 – 2014

This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have one recall from consumers in EU in the alert notifications:

Foreign bodies: black particles in spring still natural mineral water, following a consumer complaint. Origin United Kingdom, notified by United Kingdom. Distributed also to Ireland.

Between the information for attention notification, followed by a recall from consumers:

– Chemical contamination: aromatic hydrocarbons in food supplement, following an official control in non-member country. Origin Russia, notified by Germany.

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:

– Foreign bodies: plastic fragments in organic aioli sauce, following a consumer complaint. Origin Netherlands, notified by Germany, distributed also to Belgium and Portugal;

– Heavy metals: arsenic in dried mushrooms, following an official control on the market. Origin Lithuania, notified by Poland;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in raw milk and mozzarella cheese, following an official control on the market. Origin Italy, notified by Italy, distributed also to Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro organisms: Salmonella Ball in black pepper, following an official control on the market. Origin Hungary, notified by Slovakia;

– Pesticide residues: ethephon in pineapple, following company’s own check. Origin South Africa, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Germany.

Amongst border rejections we have Norovirus (Group II) in frozen clams (Veneridae) and doxycycline unauthorised in frozen whiteleg shrimp from Vietnam, undeclared egg in frozen surimi sticks from China, unauthorised novel food GTF chromium yeast from the United States, damaged packaging of and absence of health mark on chilled yellowfin tuna from Grenada, chlorpyriphos in asparagus beans from the Dominican Republic, formetanate in fresh pepper from Turkey, unauthorised substance dichlorvos in dried beans from Nigeria, unauthorised substance chlorate in organic apples from Argentina, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen lamb meat, hind shanks and legs from New Zealand, E 385 – calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra acetate (CDEDTA) unauthorised in fruity flavour soft drinks from the United States, aflatoxins in organic groundnuts in shell from Egypt and in Brazil nuts from Bolivia, absence of health certificate(s) and missing import declaration for melon seeds from Nigeria, Salmonella Spp. in sesame seeds from Senegal and in frozen poultry  meat preparations from Brazil and Thailandia.

For feed, we have an alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Biotoxins: meadow saffron in hay, following company’s own check. Origin Germany, notified by Netherlands.

For food contact materials we have border rejections for too high level of overall migration from knives from China.

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Written Q&A to EU Commission – Contaminants and crab meat

Subject: Standards for the mitten crab

In large parts of the Netherlands it is forbidden to catch the mitten crab due to supposed risks to public health (from dioxins and PCBs, amongst other things). At present there is only a European standard covering the white meat of the crab, as a result of which the Dutch Government was able to introduce its own catch ban based on the brown meat. In all other EU Member States, the brown meat is not taken into account and the crabs may be caught. With no clear European standard for all edible parts of the crab at present, there is also no level playing field.

1. Does the Commission agree with me that the current situation, whereby there is no clear standard covering all edible parts of the mitten crab, is undesirable?

2. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is reportedly looking into the desirability of standardisation in respect of all edible parts of the mitten crab in connection with food safety. When does the Commission expect a definitive decision in this regard? Is standardisation a given in time?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

Taking into account the different interpretations with regard to the part of crabs to be analysed for cadmium, it has been clarified that the maximum level established in the annex to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 (1) in crabs and crab-like crustaceans applies to the muscle meat from appendages (legs and claws) only. For reasons of consistency, the part of crustaceans to which the maximum levels of dioxins and PCBs apply has been modified accordingly.

For consumers eating regularly the brown meat of crabs, an information note for the consumers has been made available on the website of the Commission (2).

Given the recent findings of dioxins and PCBs in mitten crab, an assessment is currently ongoing to verify if the usually consumed edible part from the mitten crab differs from the usually consumed edible part of other crabs and crab-like crustaceans.

In addition, Commission Recommendation 2013/711/EU (3) recommends Member States to monitor the presence of dioxins and PCBs in mitten crab.

The outcome of the assessment and the results of the monitoring will enable the Commission to decide on the maximum level for dioxins and PCBs to apply in the case of mitten crab.

⋅1∙ Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (OJ L 364, 20.12.2006, p. 5).


⋅3∙ Commission Recommendation 2013/711/EU of of 3 December 2013 on the reduction of the presence of dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and food (OJ L 323, 4.12.2013, p. 37).

© European Union, 2014 – Source: European Parliament