RASFF notifications broke 4,000 barrier in 2019

More than 4,000 reports on food or feed risks were filed by member states to the European Commission this past year.

In 2019, 4,118 original notifications were transmitted through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) which gave rise to 10,388 follow-up notices compared to 3,699 original notifications in 2018.

A small decline in follow-ups was because of the conversations feature in iRASFF. In 2019, more than 2,600 conversations were conducted in this application.

Aflatoxins in nuts remained the most frequently reported issue in food checked at EU borders.

RASFF posts by notifying country

China regained the top spot as the country responsible for origin of the most reports followed by Turkey and Poland with more than 300 and the United States with 220.

A total of 64 reports were triggered by a food poisoning event. Forty related to foodborne outbreaks in 2019. From these notices, 14 … Read more

FSIS does not see need for changing veal terminology

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has denied a 4-year-old petition filed on behalf of the American Veal Association. The petition sought an FSIS rulemaking to establish regulatory definitions for veal and other immature cattle to be consistent with industry practices.  Specifically, the petition requested:

  •  That FSIS define “veal” as “any immature bovine having a dressed carcass weight up to 425 pounds and administered only U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved medications and feed, formula, nutritional and herbal supplements in accordance with regulations.” 
  •  That FSIS establish “optional” subcategories for “milk-fed veal,” “formula-fed veal,” and “grain/grass-fed veal” based on the live animal’s diet and its dressed carcass weight, and for “bob veal” based on a dressed carcass weight of fewer than 100 pounds. 
  •  That FSIS defines “calf” for labeling purposes as any immature bovine that does not meet any of the requested veal definitions.

According to … Read more

Imported frozen berries suspected in hepatitis A outbreak

Officials in Sweden and Denmark are investigating a hepatitis A outbreak with frozen imported berries suspected to be the source of infection.

Since mid-July, nine patients with the same type of hepatitis A virus have been reported from five different regions in Sweden. The latest patient fell ill on Sept. 18.

Six women and three men from Norrbotten, Västra Götaland, Stockholm, Uppsala and Södermanland are infected with the liver virus. Patients range from 2 to 78 years old. Also, a couple of people are ill in Denmark.

Frozen berries named as potential source
Interviews have found some people ate frozen imported berries, especially raspberries, which were not heated before consumption. However, analysis of sampled berries has not been able to detect the hepatitis A virus.

Local infection control units, Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), and Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) are investigating to confirm the source of the infections.

Two … Read more

Marijuana growers get pesticide options after Colorado’s Wild West era

After Colorado’s Amendment 64 passed, making the recreational use of marijuana legal beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the state went for almost two years without even some basic regulation of pesticides. It was a time pot growers with all sorts of pesticides would drench plants being grown over cement warehouse floors.

Amendment 64 said only the state’s Department of Revenue could regulate recreational marijuana. Edible marijuana products, as well as smokable products, are available across the state.

Finally, in November 2015, then-Gov. John W. Hickenlooper declared that Colorado marijuana products contaminated by pesticides were a threat to public safety. Hickenlooper ruled marijuana contaminated with so-called “off-label” pesticide use was a risk to public health. He ordered actions by several state agencies to “hold and destroy” any pot plants that were sprayed with such pesticides.

By the following spring, Colorado’s “wild west” era for canibus growers was ending. On March 30,

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Salmonella patient count up as outbreak traced to wood ear mushrooms continues

Federal officials continue to report new illnesses in a 10-state Salmonella outbreak linked to imported, contaminated wood ear mushrooms, also known as kikurage or black fungus.

Officials reported yesterday there have been 43 patients confirmed in the outbreak, up from 41 in previous reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s epidemiologists and investigators at the Food and Drug Administration. No one has died, as far as agency authorities know. Four outbreak patients have been admitted to hospitals.

Inc., Santa Fe Springs, CA, has recalled Shirakiku brand imported dried fungus, also known as wood ear mushrooms, black fungus or kikurage, from restaurants in 31 states, the District of Columbia and one Canadian province.

The recall came following the California Department of Public Health’s discovery of the presence of Salmonella in the product. The manufacturer has been made aware of the issue, and is conducting an investigation to determine … Read more