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The EU Reference Laboratory for Listeria monocytogenes has prepared an amendment to its Technical Guidance Document for conducting shelf-life studies on this hazard in ready-to-eat foods. The changes concern the storage temperature of the test units at the retail level to conduct a challenge test assessing the growth potential of Listeria monocytogenes. The draft amendment was endorsed by the European Commission and the Member States.

Source: Megapesca Lda FishfilesLite Services

Friday, 19 April 2019 01:44

EU: Meeting of EU Food Fraud Network

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The European Commission hosted the November 2018 meeting of the EU’s Food Fraud Network including the European Commission, Joint Research Council, OLAF (the EU’s Anti-fraud Office) and EUROPOL. The meeting was presented with updates on major food frauds in the EU in 2018, including two concerning fishery products. The first concerned the identification of intentional misuse of antibiotics (nitrofurans) by several Vietnamese shrimp producers, identified through the official controls at EU borders and on the market, and disseminated by the EU’s RASFF system. The issue led to several export establishments having their authorizations withdrawn by the Vietnamese Competent Authority. The second concerned the illegal treatment and use of brine frozen tuna intended for canning for supply to the fresh tuna market, covered in the previous edition of The Fish Inspector. The case, codenamed Operation Tarantello, concluded with a total of 79 arrests by the Spanish authorities in October and November 2018, coordinated by EUROPOL, with several prosecutions underway.

At the meeting, it was also noted that the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) is working on a new definition of food fraud. The Joint Research Council EC Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality also held a Technical workshop on food Fraud in December 2018. The next meeting of the Food Fraud network will be held in April/May 2019.

Source: Megapesca Lda FishfilesLite Services


EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, reported on outbreaks of histamine intoxication which occurred in some EU countries in 2017 linked to consumption of tuna. Fish and fish products were implicated in 20 histamine outbreaks (out of 23 outbreaks amongst a total of 80 where the vehicle could be identified). Of these 5 were related to tuna. Despite detailed follow up in the supply chain of all cases, it was not possible to identify a single event at a specific point in each food supply chain (e.g. incorrect storage at a specific company) that could be considered the origin of all clusters of human cases. The study concluded that due to the nature of histamine and the conditions that favour its production, it is likely that several concurrent factors occurred at several stages along the food chain. With temperature being one of the main factors influencing the production of histamine, it is considered that temperature abuse during post-harvest chilling, storage and/or processing has played an important role in these events.

Source: Megapesca Lda Fishfiles Service


The European Commission has amended the authorized testing methods to be used for the detection of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) in mollusks. In future, the whole body (or any separately edible part) should be analyzed using the biological testing method or any other internationally recognized method. If the results are challenged, the reference method shall be the so-called Lawrence method as published in AOAC Official Method 2005.06 (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Toxins in Shellfish).

Source: Megapesca Lda Fishfiles Service


The European Commission reported that FVO auditors had discovered that certain tuna freezer vessels used tanks destined for freezing and storing tuna fish which were also used as a reservoir for diesel. Once the diesel is used for the engine, the tanks are filled with brine and fishery products that may be exported to the EU. The Commission has informed all countries exporting fishery products of the unacceptability of this practice and requested to stop it immediately. The attention of the EU Member States involved in tuna fisheries was also drawn to this issue.

Source: Megapesca Lda Fishfiles Service


Results of a major study in UK revealed that plastic particles are found in a third of fish caught off widespread contamination of cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish by microbeads used in shower gels, toothpastes and beauty products were reported in the study. Plastic fragments and residues were detected
in 83 per cent of UK-caught scampi, as well as in tuna, mullet, mussels and oysters. It is thought the fish, many of which reach the human food chain, are feeding on plastics mixed in among plankton. Campaigners warn the microbeads are a magnet for pesticide residues and industrial chemicals that jeopardise human health. Greenpeace, which commissioned the marine research, said oceans were at risk.' An estimated eight million tons of plastic enters our ocean every year, and whether it is in the form of microbeads or throwaway plastic packaging, the science shows us that it's a toxic time-bomb,' a spokesman added.

Source: Daily Mail


  • Vitamin D

The Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) defined an Adequate Intake (AI) of 15 μg per
day for healthy individuals over one year of age. This includes pregnant and lactating women. The DRVs
for infants aged 7-11 months have been set at 10 μg per day. The DRVs will ensure that European
consumers take in sufficient levels of vitamin D irrespective of their geographic location and exposure to
sun light. The setting of DRVs for vitamin D is part of the review of reference values for nutrients and
energy intakes established in 1993.


  • Potassium

The new set of daily Adequate Intakes for potassium, announced by the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA) is based on the relationship between potassium intake and blood pressure and stroke.

The values for various age groups are as follows:

  • 750mg for infants aged 7-11 months.
  • 800mg for children aged 1-3 years.
  • 1,100mg for children aged 4-6.
  • 1,800mg for children aged 7-10.
  • 2,700mg for children aged 11-14.
  • 3,500mg for adolescents aged 15-17.
  • 3,500mg for adults including pregnant women.
  • 4,000mg for lactating women.

Source: EFSA


Mandatory food hygiene rating came into effect in Northern Ireland during October 2016. Food businesses operators will have to display the rating sticker following an inspection by local council. The rating will range from 0-5. A rating of 5 will be achieved if the food business complies with all hygiene requirements
and a rating of 0 corresponds to necessity of urgent improvement. This instant and visible hygiene rating information will help people choose where to eat out or shop for food. The mandatory display will also encourage businesses with a poor rating to improve their standards and strive for a better rating. The law
replaces a voluntary hygiene labelling scheme which had been in place since 2011.

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