Food recalls in EU – Week 31 – 2014

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

– Allergens: undeclared wheat in liquorice, following a consumer complaint. Origin Spain, relabelled in Denmark, notified by Denmark and distributed also to Germany;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in dry sausages, following a consumer complaint. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Slovenia;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in chilled smoked trout, following company’s own check. Origin Spain, notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in gorgonzola, following company’s own check. Origin Italy, notified by  France, distributed also to Denmark and Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia Coli in cow’s milk cheese made with raw milk, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

– Pesticide residues: dimethoate in fresh green celery, following an official control on the market. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg and France.

Between the information for attention notifications, followed by a recall from consumers, we find:

– Food additives and flavourings: too high content of  E210 – benzoic acid in soft drink, following an official control on the market. Origin Vietnam, notified by Denmark;

– Pesticide residues: carbendazim in courgettes, following an official control on the market. Origin Jordan, notified by Denmark.

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

– Composition: unauthorised substance progesterone in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin Czech Republic, notified by Czech Republic, distributed also to Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Slovakia and Slovenia;

– Composition: unauthorised ingredient (androgenic anabolic steroid) in food supplement, following an official control on the market. Origin Bulgaria, notified by Czech Republic;

– Industrial contaminants: benzo(a)pyrene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in cocoa bean powder, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Slovakia;

– Mycotoxins: Ochratoxin A in organic bread, following company’s own check. Origin Germany, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria, France, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp. in Asian assortment, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella in madras curry powder, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: foodborne outbreak suspected (Salmonella enteritidis) to be caused by eggs, following food poisoning. Origin Germany, notified by France;

– Pesticide residues: tebuconazole and trifloxystrobin in mangoes, following company’s own check. Origin Pakistan, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany, Iceland, Italy and Netherlands.

Amongst border rejections we have Salmonella in frozen boneless skinless marinated chicken inner fillets, frozen salted chicken innerfillets, frozen spiced turkey medallions, frozen turkey and poultry meat preparation from Brazil, unauthorised substance dichlorvos, cypermethrin and chlorpyriphos in dried oloyin beans from Nigeria, attempt to illegally import paan leaves from Bangladesh and melon seeds and dried beans from Nigeria, aflatoxins in peanuts, nutmeg powder, crushed chillies, chilli peppers and fried coated groundnuts from India, in blanched peanuts from China, in pistachios from Iran, in shelled pistachio kernels from Iran (via Turkey), in groundnuts in shell from Egypt and in apricot kernels from Tajikistan (via Turkey), high bacterial count in and spoilage of sheep casings from Pakistan, live insects in cinnamon from Indonesia infested with moulds, chlorpyriphos in chilled asparagus peas from the Dominican Republic, methamidophos in green beans from Kenya, malathion in fresh peppers from Turkey, too high content of sulphite in dried pineapple and mango bites from Philippines, dimethoate in mangetout peas from Kenya, methamidophos and acephate in French beans with pods from Kenya, chlorfenapyr in papaya from Brazil, unauthorised substance carbofuran in peppers from the Dominican Republic, unauthorised substances sildenafil and tadalafil in food supplement dispatched from China, buprofezin, triazophos and imidacloprid in tea from China and anthraquinone and unauthorised substance dicrotophos in tea from China, via Hong Kong.

For feed, we have an information for follow up notification, followed by a recall from consumers:

Composition: too high content of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in complementary feed for honeybees, following an official control on the market. Origin Germany, notified by Belgium.

For food contact materials we have border rejections for migration of manganese from egg beaters and of chromium and nickel from wine stopper from China.

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New Question to EU Commission about illegal marketing of Sambuca

Italian MEPs are stressing again this issue to the Commission, with the following pressing questions. The “illegal” marketing of Sambuca in UK is going on from several months, without any apparent intervention by the Member States interested.

Question for written answer to the Commission – Giancarlo Scottà (EFD) – 14th February 2014

Subject: illegal marketing of Sambuca

The criteria set out in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council stipulate that the spirit drink called Sambuca must be a colourless aniseed-flavoured liqueur, with a natural anethole content of not less than 1 gram per litre and not more than 2 grams per litre, and a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 38%.

It is now more than six months since the Commission answered my Written Question E‐004582/2013, in which Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said the Commission would examine the issue and take the necessary action, including contacting the Member States concerned. However, recent investigations indicate continuing sales of products that are labelled as ‘Sambuca’ but do not in fact comply with one or more of the aforementioned criteria. There is, in particular, evidence of the widespread presence of bottles of coloured liqueur labelled as ‘Sambuca’ and flavoured with strawberry, banana, mint or liquorice. These counterfeits have negative implications in two ways: they are damaging the image of the real Sambuca, and they are attracting younger consumers because of their colour and flavour.

Reports continue to come in, particularly from the UK market, despite the two circulars issued by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) in July and September 2013, which alerted the supervisory authorities to the illegal marketing of bottles of counterfeit ‘Sambuca’.

Although I am aware that it is Member States’ responsibility to control spirit drinks and to take the necessary action to ensure that they comply with EU rules, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1. Does it have a record of the reports made, actions undertaken and results achieved so far by the Member States?

2. Is the newly formed task force on food fraud, operating within DG SANCO, up to date and taking the matter in hand?

3. What further action does the Commission intend to take to improve results in combating this illegal commercial practice, which, as stated above, is not only damaging the image of the real Sambuca but is also attracting younger consumers?

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