Food recalls in EU – Week 25 – 2014

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

– Pesticide residues: dimethoate in green beans, following an official control on the market. Origin Morocco, notified by Luxembourg, distributed also to Germany and France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in raw milk soft cheese, following an official control on the market. Origin France, notified by Germany;

Food additives and flavorings: undeclared sulphite in pickled lime, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand (via Netherlands), notified by Denmark;

–  Food additives and flavorings: undeclared sulphite in water chestnuts in brine, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand (via Netherlands), notified by Denmark.

Between the information for attention and the information for follow-up notification, followed by a recall from consumers:

– Food additives and flavorings: too high content of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF in soft drinks, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), notified by Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in milkshakes produced from sterilised milk preparation, following company’s own check. Origin France/Belgium, notified by France;

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

– Allergens: too high content of gluten in corn meal, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland, notified by Poland, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and United Kingdom;

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient in flapjack cake, following a consumer complaint. Origin United Kingdom, notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Germany, Ireland, Slovakia and Malta;

– Allergens; undeclared sesame and nuts in cookies, following an official control on the market. Origin Lebanon (via Germany), notified by Denmark;

– Heavy metals: high content of lead in green lentils, following an official control on the market. Origin Czech Republic, notified by Slovakia;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in pistachio nuts, following an official control on the market. Origin United States (via Germany), notified by Netherlands;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in pistachio nuts, following an official control on the market. Origin Iran (via Germany), notified by Netherlands;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Spp. in ground ginger, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Bacillus cereus in ginger powder, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), notified by France, distributed also to Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in vacuum packed beef, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Coein in black pepper, following an official control on the market. Origin Belgium/Netherlands, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to France;

– Pesticide residues: carbendazim in pears, following a border control. Origin Argentina, notified by Greece, distributed also to Bulgaria;

Residues of veterinary medicinal products: residue level above MRL for oxytetracycline in pork meat, following an official control on the market. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and United Kingdom.

Amongst border rejections we have Norovirus in frozen clams from Vietnam, residue level above MRL for oxytetracycline in frozen shrimps from Vietnam, too high content of vitamins in food supplements from the United States, unauthorised substances malachite green and leucomalachite green in frozen red tail tin foil barb from Vietnam, parasitic infestation with Anisakis of anchovies from Morocco, absence of health certificate(s) for rice cooking wine and sauces from China, Salmonella Hadar in frozen turkey meat and meat preparation (boneless & skinless) from Brazil, Salmonella spp. in frozen chicken meat and meat preparation from Brazil, Salmonella Brunei and Salmonella Westhampton in desiccated coconut from Indonesia, Salmonella Kentucky in hulled sesame seeds from India, aflatoxins in pistachio nuts from Syria, via Turkey, and from United States and in pistachio nuts in shell from Iran, prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furazolidone (AOZ) in frozen domestic rabbits and frozen rabbit meat from China, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen lamb meat from New Zealand, unauthorised substance dichlorvos in oluyin beans, peeled beans and dried beans from Nigeria, attempt to illegally import dried beans from Nigeria ,suspicion of attempt to illegally import watermelon seeds from Nigeria, formetanate in fresh peppers from Turkey, carbendazim in fresh green beans from Kenya, in waxberry from China and in fresh peppers from Turkey, clofentezine in fresh peppers from Turkey, acetamiprid and endosulfan in aubergines from the Dominican Republic, chlorpyriphos and hexaconazole in chilled green beans from Kenya, unauthorised substance morpholine in lemons from Argentina and unauthorised genetically modified (35S promotor detected) fresh papaya from Thailand.

For feed, we have a border rejection for Salmonella paratyphi b in fish meal from Peru.

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

Migration of primary aromatic amines from nylon spoons, following an official control on the market. Origin China (via United Kingdom), notified by Poland.

Border rejections for migration of manganese from cast iron grills, migration of chromium, of nickel and of manganese from stainless steel kitchen utensils and volatile organic compounds in wooden sticks for skewers and cocktail decorations from China.

Related articles

Portugal – Internationalisation of agri-food sector bears fruit

“Thank you again to my friend Francesco Montanari, Food Law consultant in Lisbon, for this insight on Portuguese economic situation.”

One year has passed since when I moved to Lisbon in search of a better climate and new personal and professional challenges. I landed in Portugal probably at the peak of the economic crisis the country is currently living through with tax pressure expected to mount and further budgetary cuts announced. I vividly remember being struck by seeing families shopping in retail stores with a calculator in their hands. That really helped me understand the extent of the crisis more than any figure or financial report.

Recently, the country’s economy has sent some positive signals of recovery. Interestingly, the agri-food sector is one of the industry segments that is contributing more to the growth of the Portuguese economy. In particular, agri-food exports increased, overall, by 7,3% in 2013 as opposed to previous year, while Portuguese exports out of the EU grew even higher (12,1%). These positive trade results draw on a solid public-private partnership that has seen the Portuguese government joining forces with agro-food business operators and with the ultimate objective to overcome technical barriers maintained by non-EU countries on sanitary and phytosanitary grounds.

In this context, over the period 2012-2013 Portugal has resumed or reinitiated negotiations with 51 potential trade partners outside the EU area, including major players such as China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa as well as African and Middle-East countries. Over the same period, 114 different food products have obtained the required approval and certification for export, ranging from fishery products to pork meat, milk and fresh produce. The export value for certain markets is also noteworthy. In particular, the following markets stand out as key markets for Portuguese food and agriculture products:

  • Brazil: € 288, 4 million (export value for 2013) (main exports: ornamental birds, fish, horses, bovine semen and embryos) ,
  • Russia: € 45 million (honey)
  • Japan: € 38,5 million (pork meat)
  • South Africa: € 36,3 (strawberries, horses and horses semen)
  • China: € 35 million (fishery and aquaculture products, milk and derived products)
  • Morocco: € 26,2 million (bovine meat, fishery, aquaculture products and milk products)
  • Venezuela: € 25,3 million (meat, fishery products, milk products and pears)
  • Algeria: € 17,1 million (bovine animals, bovine meat, honey) (Source: Expresso Economia 18 January 2014)

The list above makes clear that Portugal has designed an export strategy that is tailored-made for the each market being targeted. Although singling out export opportunities primarily lies with food businesses, national competent authorities, including the network of Portuguese embassies operating abroad, have played a major role in facilitating the progressive removal of technical barriers to Portuguese exports. One may well regard the public-private partnership that Portugal has developed over the last couple of years as a far-reaching policy initiative that could inspire other European countries with similar agri-food credentials.