Food recalls in EU – Week 21/2015

14-AllergensThis week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: undeclared soya (presence) and wheat (presence) in and incorrect labelling on roasted and salted almonds from Greece, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark, distributed also to Faeroe Islands;

– Allergens: undeclared gluten in frozen grilled vegetables in marinade from Belgium, following a consumer complaint. Notified by Finland, distributed also to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Defective packaging: risk of breakage of bottles containing wine from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Bermuda;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Defective packaging: risk of breakage of bottles containing panaché from France, following company’s own check. Notified from Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (110 CFU/g) in raw cow’s milk cheese from France, following company’s own check. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Spain and Sweden;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (1300 CFU/g) in cow’s milk cheese from France, following an official control on the market. Notified by France, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom.

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

– Allergens: traces of egg in soup from Poland, following company’s own check. Notified by Ireland, distributed also to United Kingdom;

– Non-pathogenic micro-organisms: hazelnut kernels from Sweden infested with moulds, following company’s own check. Notified by Denmark;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Saint Paul in chilled turkey breast fillet from Italy, following an official control on the market. Notified by Denmark.

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

– Allergens: undeclared soya (5.8 mg/kg – ppm) in liver pate from Poland, following an official control on the market. Notified by Slovakia;

– FCM (Food Contact Materials). Industrial contaminants: migration of melamine (3.1 mg/kg – ppm) from melamine dinner plate from unknown origin, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium;

– Industrial contaminants: 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) (11 mg/kg – ppm) in food supplement from the United States, via the Netherlands, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Campylobacter (presence/25g) in chicken liver parfait from Ireland, following a food poisoning. Notified by United Kingdom;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/g) in pasteurized cheese from Italy, following company’s own check. Notified by France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Munchen (presence/25g) in smoked paprika powder from Spain, following an official control on the market. Notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to France, Ireland and United Arab Emirates;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium (presence/25g) in frozen chicken livers and skins from Belgium, following an official control on the market. Notified by Belgium, distributed also to Germany and Netherlands;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O26 – VTEC eaeA and VTEC vtx1./25g) in smoked sausage from Latvia, following an official control on the market. Notified by Latvia, distributed also to Estonia.

4. Seizures:

– In Switzerland, following a border control, we had a seizure of basil from Laos for pesticide residues: carbosulfan (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance carbofuran (1.4 mg/kg – ppm) and a seizure of kale from Vietnam for composition and pesticide residues: too high content of nitrate (4700 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substances carbendazim (1.12 mg/kg – ppm), chlorfenapyr (0.20 mg/kg – ppm) and chlorfluazuron (0.06 mg/kg – ppm).

5. Border rejections:

  • absence of health certificate(s) and of certified analytical report for peanut candies from India;
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 10.3; Tot. = 11.4 / B1 = 9.9; Tot. = 11 µg/kg – ppb) in whole and ground egusi seeds from Ghana
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 17.1; Tot. = 21.5 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts with shell from China
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 30; Tot. = 35 / B1 = 55; Tot. = 64 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from India
  • aflatoxins (B1: 20, Sum 20 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from the United States
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 17.5 µg/kg – ppb) in hazelnut kernels from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (Tot. = 33.8 µg/kg – ppb) in raw pistachios from the United States
  • attempt to illegally import dried beans and dried meat and fish products from Nigeria
  • biphenyl (3.44 mg/kg – ppm) in lemons from Turkey
  • chlorpyrifos (0.19 mg/kg – ppm) and diazinon (0.03 mg/kg – ppm) in black olives in brine from Egypt and (0.2 mg/100ml and 0.06 mg/kg – ppm) in whole natural black olives from Eritrea, via Egypt
  • clofentezine (0.17 mg/kg – ppm) in sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) from Turkey
  • formetanate (0.32 mg/kg – ppm) in peppers from Turkey
  • improper health certificate(s) for peanuts from Ghana
  • malathion (0.047 mg/kg – ppm) in myrica rubra from China
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): migration of manganese (2.1 mg/kg – ppm) from stainless steel ladle from India
  • FCM (Food Contact Materials): acrylic plates from India unfit for use as food contact material
  • poor temperature control (>-7 °C) of fresh frozen shrimps (Penaeus vannamei ) from Venezuela and of chilled tuna (Thunnus albacares) from India
  • prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) (3.5 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen raw shrimps from India
  • Salmonella spp. (presence /25g) in frozen turkey meat preparations and in frozen spiced turkey breasts from Brazil
  • Salmonella spp. (present /25g) in frozen salted chicken breasts from Thailand

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.