Based on samples taken from 300 products collected between November 2011 to December 2012 (294 were analysed for acrylamide and 113 analysed for furan), the survey gives a snapshot of the range of acrylamide and furan levels in UK retail foods.
For this 2011- 2012 period, the number of products found to contain acrylamide levels that exceeded the ‘indicative value’ for their food group was 17. Where an acrylamide level has exceeded an indicative value, the Agency has asked the relevant local authority to investigate.
The levels of acrylamide and furan reported do not increase concern about the risk to human health and the Agency has not changed its advice to consumers. The Agency advises that consumers follow Department of Health advice on eating a balanced diet and follow Agency advice on acrylamide minimisation.
As with previous years, the survey results for acrylamide and furan will be sent to EFSA for collation, trend analysis and, in the case of furan, a risk assessment.
The present study was set up as an extensive literature review aimed at evaluating biological hazards associated with FoNAO (Food-borne diseases caused by food of non-animal origin) with high water content.
Data were extracted from 432 publications to identify the most critical FoNAO/pathogen combinations. The number and severity of outbreaks of disease provided the basis for a primary evaluation, and qualitative criteria relating to pathogen prevalence, food/pathogen interaction, and the production of FoNAO items were used for defining three priority groups:
Priority group 1: leafy green vegetables (in particular lettuce and spinach) in combination with pathogenic E. coli. Salmonella spp. on/in leafy greens and on/in tomatoes, respectively, were also given priority one for EU and non-EU countries, respectively. In the EU, berries (in particular frozen strawberries) linked to Norovirus were also attributed level 1 priority. In non-EU countries, the level 1 priority group included also melon (cantaloupe) with Salmonella and tropical fruit (mango and papaya) with Salmonella.
Priority group 2: for EU countries comprised the combinations lettuce/Norovirus and fresh herbs (basil)/Salmonella spp., while semidried tomatoes combined with Hepatitis A virus, grated carrots combined with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. For non-EU countries, priority group 2 included lettuce/Norovirus, spinach/pathogenic E.coli and cantaloupe melon/Listeria monocytogenes.
Priority group 3: For Eu countries, cucumber in combination with parasites. Hepatitis A virus both in unpasteurized orange juice and on/in green onion for non-EU-countries.
The study provides a broad scientific database that will be instrumental in the conceptualisation of specific measures for improving the safety of FoNAO. Ultimately, it may contribute to the prevention and a better control of food borne diseases.
This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) audit in Morocco, carried out from 29 January to 5 February 2013. The objective of the audit was to assess controls on pesticide residues in foodstuffs of plant origin intended for export to the European Union.
Inparticular, the audit team followed up on action taken by the Competent Authorities (CAs) in response to the recommendations made by the FVO in report SANCO/2011-6027.
Since the last audit SANCO/2011-6027, the CAs have strengthened the system for authorisation of plant protection products (PPPs). Growers and pack-houses have received targeted training. Their awareness and auto-controls are improving, in particular in the production of mint for export to the EU, where weaknesses had been identified in the last audit. This process is still ongoing. Minor weaknesses were identified regarding the authorisation of PPPs and their communication to the public. A substantial export control programme is in place and there has been progress in the extension of the analytical scope, but there remains a weakness in the use of the laboratory resources, and a lack of GC-MS/MS equipment. Comprehensive follow-up was undertaken by the CAs in response to notifications in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). Work is ongoing to address the recommendations of the previous audit.
This report describes the outcome of an audit carried out in Spain from 11 to 21 September 2012. The objectives were to audit the capability and the performance of the official bodies responsible for import controls and the adequacy and effectiveness of import checks carried out for plant health purposes to ensure compliance with EU requirements.
The import control system in Spain is largely in line with requirements of the EU legislation. The staff of the inspection posts is employed by the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration and their work is coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The system ensures uniform and efficient control practice, which is implemented effectively at the inspection posts. There is sufficient cooperation with Customs and port/airport authorities. Inspection facilities established at the ports/airports contribute significantly to the appropriateness of the controls.
However, certain shortcomings were identified:
There are no phytosanitary controls on regulated articles arriving from the Canary Islands,
Plant health checks do not address the phytosanitary risk entirely as the risk base sampling approach is not always applied for the detection of incidental laten infection/infestation;
Checks on wood packaging material are not adapted to the new plant health risks as ther are no visual inspections or laboratory sampling on consignments, bearing the ISPM-1 mark in order to detect the efficiency of the heat treatment;
The phytosanitary fees do not always reach the minimum level, required by EU legislation.
Serotype 1 viral circulation was detected in neighboring areas north of the Autonomous Community of Extremadura, so it was considered necessary to establish compulsory vaccination against serotype 1 in those areas of greatest risk.
This scientific opinion of the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids deals with the safety evaluation of iron based oxygen absorber systems comprising iron, sodium chloride, water, silica gel, activated carbon, monosodium glutamate, potassium acid tartrate, powdered cellulose, malic acid, chabazite, hydroxypropyl cellulose, potassium carbonate, sodium thiosulfate, propylene glycol, glycerin, polyethyleneglycol sorbitan monooleate, sodium propionate and clinoptilolite, incorporated in sachets, patches and cards. Iron, the main active ingredient reacts with oxygen to form iron hydroxide and iron oxide, thereby removing oxygen from the primary packaging. Only activated carbon has not been evaluated as such, but it meets the specifications for activated charcoal which is authorised as additive for plastic materials and articles in contact with foods. All other ingredients of the oxygen absorber formulations have been evaluated and approved for use as additives in plastic food contact materials and/or as food additives and/or food supplements or feed additives. The active system being based on solid ingredients and not intended for direct contact with liquid food or food with an external liquid surface, migration through the gas phase was screened for 9 representative active systems. No volatiles derived from the active mixtures were detected. Therefore the CEF Panel concluded that the substances do not raise a safety concern when used in oxygen absorbers in sachets, patches or cards, placed in the headspace of the packaging or when used in direct contact with food, excluding liquid food or foods that have an external aqueous liquid phase on the surface such as sliced fruits and fresh meat.
7,259 tests were carried out by the competent authorities in the 27 EU countries, of which 4,144 tested for the presence of horsemeat DNA and 3,115 tested for the presence of phenylbutazone. Of those tests, 193 revealed positive traces of horsemeat DNA (4.66%) and 16 showed positive traces of bute (0.51%).