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SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines, FoodNO. 080/16

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) preliminary annual report 2015 has been published. It includes details of market surveillance activities connected to food and feedstuff, as well as for food contact materials (FCM). In 2015, notifications connected to FCM decreased by 18%, compared to the previous year. However, in 2015, notifications for FCM still make it to the top 10 of all product category findings by EU Member State authorities.

Criteria for notification to the RASFF [1] are provided in Article 50 of European Commission Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 [3]. Whenever a member of the network has any information relating to the existence of a serious direct or indirect risk to human health deriving from food or feed, this information is immediately notified to the Commission under the RASFF. The Commission immediately transmits that information to the network’s members.

In the preliminary 2015 [3] report, a total of 3,049 original notifications were transmitted through the RASFF (vs. 3,157 in the previous year), and 152 are connected to FCM (vs. 185 in previous year). This represents a substantial 5.0% of all the incidents reported in 2015, and represents a slight reduction on 2014. It is also confirmation of a positive trend; FCM related notifications accounted for 7.1% of all findings in 2014, 6.8% in 2013, 8.2% in 2012 and 8.4% in 2011.

The most frequent notifications for FCM are related to the release of heavy metals. According to the top 10 RASFF notifications sorted by origin, release of chromium by products originating in China is again of particular concern and repeats the findings observed in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, it accounts for 21.7% of all FCM notifications – ranking tenth in the top 10 of the RASFF report. Although the number of notifications relating to chromium release originating in China in 2015, 33 notifications, is similar to 2014 (38 notifications), it has dropped from fourth in the 2014 RASFF survey to tenth in 2015. This change is related to an overall increase in the number of notifications, by some 47.6%, in 2015 compared to 2014. The most active EU Member State for surveillance of FCM in 2015 is Italy.

Table 1: RASFF notifications top 10 in 2015 by country of origin

Hazard Product Category Country of Origin Number of Notifications
Aflatoxins Nuts, nut products and seeds China 97
Salmonella Fruits and vegetables India 78
Salmonella Nuts, nut products and seeds India 65
Mercury Fish and fish products Spain 58
Aflatoxins Nuts, nut products and seeds Iran 55
Aflatoxins Nuts, nut products and seeds Turkey 53
Aflatoxins Fruits and vegetables Turkey 48
Aflatoxins Nuts, nut products and seeds USA 37
Salmonella Poultry meat and poultry meat products Brazil 37
Release of chromium Food contact materials China 33

SGS technical experts have extensive knowledge and testing experience in materials and articles in contact with food. They work to ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. From overall migration test to expert advices on emerging regulations and compliance issues and documentation review, SGS is the partner to trust. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or visit our website.

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Udo Krischke
Technical Manager RSTS
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