FVO audit in China – Good news about mung beans and sprouting seed exported to EU

Not everything is coming from China is definitely bad. Following an audit in 2013 (DG(SANCO)/2013-6680), which revealed several profiles of non-compliance with the EU rules, the Chinese Competent Authorities put in place a really effective system to chekk exporting seeds for sprouting and direct human consumption. 

This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in China from 15 September to 22 September 2014.

The first objective of the audit was to assess the official control systems in place for seeds for human consumption (in particular, mung beans and other seeds for sprouting and direct human consumption) for export to the EU in order to prevent microbiological contamination (Articles 11 and 14 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002) and to assess whether these systems offer adequate assurance that the produce concerned is within the limits laid down in EU legislation.

The second objective was to follow-up the previous audit DG (SANCO)/2013-6680. The audit focused on controls at primary production level. The objectives of the audit were met. Significant progress was made by the Chinese Competent Authorities (CAs) since the last audit in 2013 and all six recommendations made in the report of that audit were fully addressed. The CAs have implemented the requirements of the EU legislation on hygiene for exports of mung beans for sprouting. A new control system has been devised explicitly for seeds for sprouting for export to the EU. This is based on registration and approval of farms by regional CAs and the introduction of specific official controls of farms and processors/exporters. The processing facilities visited by the audit team followed Good Hygiene Practices. The laboratory visited was accredited and suitable for the purpose of official microbiological analysis including Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli(STEC).

At the time of the audit there were no export certificates being issued by the CAs of China for seeds for sprouting to be exported to the EU. However, the system of official food safety controls currently in place can assure that the mung beans for sprouting were produced under conditions which comply with the general hygiene provisions for primary production and associated operations set out in Part A of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 as required by Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 211/2013. The system in place enables the CAs of China to issue the required
export certificates. This applies already for the 2014 harvest.

Food recall in EU – Week 36/2014

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:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Typhimurium in dried ginger powder, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Finland.

Between the information for follow-up notifications, we can find another recall from consumers:

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Norovirus in frozen precooked mussels, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Italy.

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

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in frozen meat skewer, following company’s own check. Origin Austria, notified by Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella in sweet peppers powder, following an official control on the market. Origin Spain, notified by Netherlands.

Amongst border rejections we have:

– aflatoxins in groundnuts from India (dispatched from Egypt), in shelled pistachios from Turkey and in raw shelled groundnuts from Brazil;

– poor temperature control of frozen tuna loins from Papua New Guinea;

– Salmonella anatum in frozen boneless beef tenderloin from Uruguay;

– Salmonella and carbendazim in paan leaves from India;

– attempt to illegally import paan leaves from Bangladesh and frozen bovine tongues from Brazil;

– thiophanate-methyl in sweet peppers from Turkey;

– unauthorised substance carbofuran in eggplants from the Dominican Republic;

– malathion in dried mung beans from Ethiopia;

– absence of health certificate(s) for dried oloyin beans from Nigeria;

– pyrimethanil, penconazole, iprodione, acetamiprid, tebuconazole, tetraconazole, indoxacarb, famoxadone, methoxyfenozide, difenoconazole, azoxystrobin, boscalid, myclobutanil, mandipropamid, pyraclostrobin and proquinazid in vine leaves in brine from Turkey.

For feed, we have a border rejection for spoilage of cotton seeds from Argentina infested with moulds and for Salmonella in dog chews.. In Germany we have also a seizure of maize from Serbia (via Netherlands), due to the presence of aflatoxins.

For food contact materials we have:

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

Migration of bis(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DOTP) from lids of glass jars containing red chili paste, following company’s own check. Origin Thailand, notified by Finland, distributed also to Estonia;

an alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Migration of lead from porcelain plates, following a border control. Origin China (via Hong Kong), notified by Latvia, distributed also to Estonia and Lithuania.

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