European meat plants posing 'avoidable risk' of disease

EWFC is calling for food safety regulations at slaughterhouses to be “re-evaluated in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic”

Consumers are being exposed to an “avoidable risk” of disease after a reduction of official controls in food inspections of pig and poultry carcasses across the EU, European meat inspectors have said. Diseased meat is being eaten by consumers in the UK and EU, including pus from abscesses and tuberculosis lesions from pigs’ heads, said the European Working Community for Food Inspection and Consumer Protection (EFWFC) this week. The EWFC represents EU meat inspectors in Europe.

In response to the claim, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the regulations for food safety had been developed to prevent meat that could be diseased or contaminated from reaching consumers. “If the FSA was aware of any breaches of these regulations it would be treated very seriously and we would take immediate action in response,” said a spokesperson.

TheGuardian  official controls  EWFC  europe

15-09-2020 15:Sep:th
 

Guidance on simpler but safe hygiene rules for small retailers, also when donating food

On June 16th, the Commission published a Notice providing guidance on food safety management systems for food retail activities, including food donation. This initiative aims to support small businesses such as butchers, bakeries, groceries and ice-cream shops in their implementation of EU rules to ensure the safe production of food sold to the consumer.

The guidance proposes a simple way of implementing these EU requirements. It underlines the value of good hygiene practices that could be sufficient in small retail shops, saving operators from the (quite complicated) procedures based on the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles. Food safety remains ensured by the guidance, which is largely based on two scientific opinions of the European Food Safety Authority.

Building on the EU food donation guidelines, adopted in 2017, the guidance further facilitates food donation by making recommendations on some simple additional good hygiene practices that contribute to ensuring the safe redistribution of food. Food donation can present specific food safety challenges given that food which is redistributed may be approaching the end of its shelf-life and the extension of the food supply chain to additional actors (e.g. food banks and other charities). In context of the increased demand for food donation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, this new guidance provides timely support for all actors involved. More generally, the Notice perfectly fits with the recently adopted Commission Farm to Fork Strategy, because of the favourable effect it can have on reducing waste and promoting food security by facilitating safe food donation practices.

official controls  EFSA

15-06-2020 22:Jun:th
 

Modified Reference Point Index (mRPI) and a decision tree for deriving uncertainty factors: A practical approach to cumulative risk assessment of food contaminant mixtures

Risk assessment of chemical mixtures remains a challenging task in all areas of food and consumer safety. So far, no general method has been developed that is best suited to several subject areas (e.g. food contaminants, additives and supplements, plant protection products). Especially for mixtures of food contaminants sophisticated methods are typically not applicable due to a general lack of complete toxicological data sets.

We developed a new approach, the modified Reference Point Index (mRPI), that combines the advantages of the Hazard Index and the Reference Point Index. Furthermore, we developed a decision tree for the determination of specific uncertainty factors that makes the mRPI an easy to use method for cumulative risk assessment even in a data poor field such as food contaminants. To further characterise the estimated cumulative risks, the Maximum Cumulative Ratio (MCR) was adapted to be applied on the mRPI, and the modified Maximum Cumulative Ratio (mMCR) was established to identify whether the risks are dominated by a single substance.

We present two case studies assessing the nephrotoxic and neurotoxic risks for the Austrian population originating from food contaminant mixtures. Calculations could not rule out potential cumulative risks, yet, they seemed to be dominated by single substances.

risk assessment  EU  contaminants  AGES

19-05-2020 12:May:th
 

Commission: No mandatory front-of-pack labelling in the Farm to Fork

Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides scaled back the ambition of the EU’s new food policy during a meeting with agriculture MEPs on Monday (11 May), revealing that it will not provide a compulsory EU-wide nutritional food label scheme.

“The Farm to Fork (F2F) will be promoting harmonised labelling, but will not be mandating the type of labelling,” she told the agriculture committee (COMAGRI). She did added though that the upcoming Commission report on front-of-pack nutrition labelling will provide evidence on the need for harmonisation in this area, as under the current EU rules it is only voluntary.

According to Kyriakides, the considerable interest in foodstuff nutrient profiles has delayed the Commission’s action, but in the context of the F2F, the EU executive will come forward with a concrete response.

official controls  nutri-score  europe

12-05-2020 17:May:th
 

Belgium food safety agency: Checks continue despite Coronavirus control measures

Almost 4,500 kilograms of food has been confiscated by the Belgian food safety agency (FASFC). The agency stressed it has continued efforts to protect public health since control measures for coronavirus were put in place in mid-March.

Vehicle inspections by a unit of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) have led to four vans being seized and the destruction of 4,450 kilograms of food such as meat, fish and cheese in the past week.

Most of the violations were because of non-compliance with temperatures required by the regulations. Transporting food in excessively high temperature conditions can lead to contamination and food poisoning for consumers, said officials.

official controls  Belgium

01-05-2020 07:May:st
 

Listeria in frozen vegetables: how to reduce risks

EFSA has assessed the risks to public health from Listeria contamination of vegetables that are blanched – scalded in hot water or steam for a short time – before they are frozen. They conclude that the risks associated with the consumption of these products is lower than for ready-to-eat foods such as smoked fish, cooked meat, sausages, pâté, soft cheese – which are usually associated with listeria contamination.

Food business operators often blanch vegetables before freezing them because this stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavour, colour and texture.

EFSA’s experts identified relevant control activities that food business operators can implement to lower the risks of contamination of frozen vegetables. These range from cleaning and disinfection of the food producing environment to water, time and temperature control at different processing steps, and accurate labelling.

official controls  listeria  EFSA  ECDC

28-04-2020 05:Apr:th
 
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