FVO Report on Myanmar – Risks from sprouting seeds

This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Myanmar from 24 February to 06 March 2014.

The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the official controls related to production and processing of seeds for human consumption (in particular, seeds for sprouting eg. mung beans and other seeds for sprouting) intended for export to the European Union (EU) in the framework of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and to evaluate procedures in place for the certification for imports into the EU of seeds for the production of sprouts as required by Regulation (EU) No 211/2013. The objectives of the audit were met.

Myanmar was selected to be audited as part of the 2014 FVO audit programme due to a number of outbreaks in the EU connected with the consumption of sprouted seeds and the volume of imports from Myanmar.

Official food safety controls on primary production, collection and processing of seeds for human consumption (in particular, seeds for sprouting) do not take place. This was acknowledged by the Myanmar Competent Authorities.

The CAs of Myanmar are aware of the requirements of EU legislation on sprouts and seeds for sprouting. There are currently no official controls carried out to attest the implementation of general hygiene requirements as laid down in Annex I to Regulation 852/2004. However, in the regions visited the above-mentioned requirements were implemented by primary producers. The hygiene practices in the processing facilities and collectors visited by the FVO audit team were generally in line with the relevant EU requirements.

The system of official food safety controls currently in place cannot ensure that the seeds for human consumption (in particular, seeds for sprouting) were produced under conditions which meet the general hygiene provisions for primary production and associated operations as set out in Part A of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and therefore the CA is not able to certify conformity with these requirements as required by Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 211/2013.

Food recalls in EU – Week 18 – 2014

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

– Food additives and flavourings: too high content of sulphite in sauce, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand, notified by Denmark;

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in ice shakes, following company’s own check. Origin Germany, notified by Germany, distributed also to Belgium;

– Mycotoxins: deoxynivalenol (DON) in corn cakes, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by France.

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

– Incorrect labelling: undeclared presence of gluten and peanut in flavoured cereal bars, following an official control on the market. Origin United Kingdom, notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Malta and Spain;

– Industrial contaminants: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked sprats in oil, following an official control on the market. Origin Latvia, notified by Latvia, distributed also to Lithuania;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in madras curry powder, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), notified by Germany;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in garlic cracker nuts, following an official control on the market. Origin Philippines (via Germany), notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in cracker nuts, following an official control on the market. Origin Philippines (via Germany), notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Belgium;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Shigatoxin producing Escherichia Coli in chilled unboned veal meat (vacuum packaged), following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in raw goat milk cheese, following company’s own check. Origin France, notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Typhimurium in frozen turkey shoulders, following company’s own check. Origin Italy, notified by France;

Residues of veterinary medicinal products: residue level above MRL for sulfadiazine in porc meat, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany, Netherlands and Poland.

In the wake of the Horsemeat scandal we have an interesting alert notification for:

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: phenylbutazone and oxyphenylbutazone in horse meat, following an official control on the market. Origin Ireland, notified by Ireland, distributed also to Belgium, France and Netherlands.

Regarding border rejections we have, among the others, Salmonella Spp. in frozen salted chicken breast from Argentina, in frozen salted chicken half breasts and fillets from Brazil, Salmonella Mbandaka in hulled sesame seeds from India, Salmonella in paan/betel leaves from India, unauthorised use of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF in biscuits different flavours from the Dominican Republic, unsuitable transport conditions (rusty and deteriorated barrels) for honey from Moldova, omethoate and dimethoate in fresh green beans from Kenya, malathion in fresh peppers from Turkey, improper health certificate(s) for okra from India, aflatoxins in bitter apricot kernels from Uzbekistan (dispatched from Turkey), absence of health certificate(s) for corn sticks from China, parasitic infestation with Anisakis of chilled silver scabbardfish from Morocco and prohibited substance chloramphenicol in frozen dried shrimp mix from Myanmar.

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

– Poor or insufficient controls: hay unfit for animal nutrition (detected Colchicum), following company’s own check. Origin Germany, notified by Netherlands.

For food contact materials we have two alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Migration of primary aromatic amines from solid spoons, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands (via United Kingdom), notified by Ireland;

– Migration of primary aromatic amines from spaghetti ladle, following an official control on the market. Origin United Kingdom, notified by Ireland.

We have also a border rejection for migration of melamine from melamine plates from China.

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