European salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers
An outbreak of salmonella that has been linked to cucumber in ready-to-eat food has sickened nearly 150 people, hitting the United Kingdom by far the hardest.
Five countries have so far this year reported cases of the illness caused by the same strain of Salmonella enterica. The United Kingdom has had 88 per cent of cases with 129, followed by Finland with 15, then Germany, Denmark and Ireland with one case each.
The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have identified ready-to-eat meals containing cucumbers as a possible source, but warned as of July 26 it had not been possible to identify the point where contamination occurred. In a joint report the two European agencies said: At present, there is insufficient epidemiological information available on the consumption of contaminated products by humans to support the microbiological evidence provided by the isolation of the outbreak strain in food. “The epidemiological investigations in the other affected countries did not generate any strong hypothesis about the vehicle or source of infection.
“Although the cucumbers used in all final contaminated products originated from Spain for a limited period (from November 2017 to April 2018), no connection between supply chains was identified: primary producers of cucumbers were different (producers A and B), and cucumbers were delivered to different processing companies through different distributors in the United Kingdom. “The laboratory results for Salmonella in all cucumber samples, taken either at primary production level in Spain or during distribution to/within UK, were negative.” The outbreak includes 25 historical cases from 2014 until January 2017.
The lack of a clear contamination source led the agencies to conclude it is likely new victims will emerge in early 2019, as has happened in previous years.
salmonella europe cucumbers
eCommerce: Commission publishes results of first EU-wide control of Internet marketed food
The Commission published the results of the first coordinated official controls of Internet marketed foods carried out by 25 EU Member States, Switzerland and Norway. In September 2017 the competent national authorities checked nearly 1100 websites for offers of non-authorised novel foods and food supplements. They found 779 offers for the sale of products clearly not complying with the EU legislation, whether in terms of labelling, false claims or lack of authorisation.
This was the first time that the national authorities pooled their experience and resources, showing their preparedness to respond to the challenges of the online world and to protect the citizens from unsafe and misleading products offered online.
The main objectives of this first Coordinated Control Plan on the Internet sale of food ('CCP-efood') in the Union were:
- practice and strengthen the cooperation and administrative assistance between Member State authorities on the control of Internet sales;
- practice the exchange of information via rapid alert notifications according to Article 50 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 (RASFF) and notification under the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation system (AAC system) according to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/19181,2;
- gain insight into misleading practices in the sale of food supplements;
- gain insight into the prevalence of unauthorised novel foods sold via Internet;
- highlight that Internet sales of food are subject to official controls;
- build know-how on food law enforcement in Internet sales by the authorities.
official controls e-commerce
Bisphenol A: more stringent measures for food contact materials
The Commission has published a new Regulation that significantly tightens the restrictions on the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials. It lowers the regulatory limit (specific migration limit or 'SML'), which is the amount allowed to migrate from the plastic material into food while keeping it safe, and extends this restriction to coating materials, which are used to line food and drink cans. The new Regulation also extends the ban from 2011 on the use of BPA in baby bottles by prohibiting the use of BPA to manufacture infant 'sippy' cups as well as the migration of BPA from coated materials containing food intended for infants and children 0–3 year olds. The new Regulation will apply from 6 September 2018.
More on BPA: https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/cs_fcm_qa_bisphenol_a.pdf
food contact materials BPA