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Piacenza, October 14, 2011 "Innovating Food, Innovating the Law" Conference ALDO PRANDINI (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy) The identification of potentially emerging food safety issues: an analysis of reports published by the European Community’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Video: http://vimeo.com/31452234


  • 1. The identification of potentially emerging food safety issues: an analysis of reports published by the European Community's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) A. PRANDINI S. SIGOLO ISTITUTO DI SCIENZE DEGLI ALIMENTI E DELLA NUTRIZIONE U.C.S.C.
    • Project- Promoting Food Safety through a New Integrated Risk Analysis Approach for Foods . (2004-2008, 37 partner, 21 nations)
    • G.A. Kleter, A. Prandini, L. Filippi, H.J.P. Marvin, 2009. Identification of potentially emerging food safety issues by analysis of reports published by the European Communitys Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) during a four-year period . Food Chem. Toxicol. 47, 932-950 .
  • 3. WHAT IS THE RASFF? A rapid alert system, established as a network, for the notification of a direct or indirect risk to human health deriving from food or feed.
  • 4. THE SCOPE OF THE RASFF The purpose of the RASFF is to provide the control authorities with an effective tool for exchange of information on measures taken to ensure food safety.
    • Regulation (EC) n 178/2002
    • Articles 50-52:
    • laying down the general principles and requirements of food law;
    • establishing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA);
    • laying down procedures in matters of food safety.
  • 6. MEMBER STATES Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechstenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland United kingdom
  • 8. MARKET NOTIFICATIONS Alert notification It is sent when a food or a feed presenting a serious risk is on the market or when rapid action is required. Information notification It concerns a food or a feed on the market of the notifying country for which a risk has been identified that does not require rapid action
  • 9. MARKET NOTIFICATIONS Border rejection notification It concerns a food or a feed that was refused entry into the Community for reason of a risk to human or animal health. News It concerns any type of information related to the safety of food or feed which has not been communicated as an alert, information or border rejection notification, but which is judged interesting for the food and feed control authorities in the Member States.
  • 10. An original notification sent by a member of the RASFF network can be rejected from transmission through the RASFF, after evaluation by the Commission, if the criteria for notification are not met or if the information transmitted is insufficient. The notifying country is informed of the intention not to transmit the information through the RASFF and is invited to provide additional information allowing the rejection to be reconsidered by the Commission. MARKET NOTIFICATIONS
  • 12. RASFF PORTAL DATABASE Since the launch of the RASFF portal (mid 2009) there have been no more subscriptions to the weekly notifications as these are now uploaded into the portal as and when they arrive.
    • It consists of:
    • search page;
    • notifications list from 1979, when RASFF begun working, till now.
    Classification Date of case Last change Reference Country Subject Product category Type 7. Alert (information or border rejection or information for follow-up or information for attention) 25/06/2011 29/06/2011 2011.0842 FR foodborne outbreak suspected (verotoxin producing E coli O104:H4) to be caused by vegetable seeds for sprouting packaged in the United Kingdom fruit and vegetables Food (feed or FCM)
  • 14. ANNUAL REPORT 2010
  • 15.
  • 16. (border rejection) (official control on the market)
  • 17. ANNUAL REPORT 2010
  • 18. ANNUAL REPORT 2010
  • 19.
    • Microbiological risks:
    • 338 notifications for Salmonella of which 120 concerning feed.
    • Salmonella was followed by Listeria which was mainly detected in fish products (smoked salmon).
    • Chemical risks:
    • most notifications regarded mycotoxins (95.3% of the mycotoxin notifications concerned the aflatoxins), followed by notifications for pesticide residues and migration of food contact materials.
    • Other risks:
    • 75 notifications for unauthorised GMO and 29 for unauthorised Novel Food.
    • 67 nofications for allergenic substances not mentioned on the labelling.
  • 20. (nuts and snack) (fruit and vegetables) (fish)
  • 21. MAIN HAZARD BY PRODUCT CATEGORY (RASFF 2010) Product category Hazard N notifications Details Nuts and snack Mycotoxins 486 471 for aflatoxins Fish Microbiological contaminations 140 Heavy metals 116 Parasitic infestations 91 Fruit and vegetables Pesticide residues 225 Microbiological contaminations 31 11 for moulds Food contact materials Migration 214
  • 22. Product category Hazard N notifications Details Herbs and spices Mycotoxins 125 120 for aflatoxins 5 for ochratoxin A Microbiological contaminations 38 27 for Salmonella Pesticide residues 38 Feed Microbiological hazards 131 20 for Salmonella Mycotoxins 23 Chemical contaminations 12 11 for dioxins and dioxin-like compounds Meat products (excluded poultry) Microbiological contaminations 89 67 for Salmonella
  • 23. CASE STUDY MELAMINE An industrial chemical used in plastics, glues, etc, rich in nitrogen (C 3 H 6 N 6 ) An important case of feed contamination in 2007 concerned the presence of melamine in pet food and protein-rich ingredients ( 15 notifications ).
  • 24. MELAMINE CHRONOSTORY (2007-2010) 2007 From February 2007 Unusual sickness and death of pet animals (cats and dogs) in the United States. Problem origin: wheat gluten originating from China and used for production of pet food. Precautionary action: recall of pet food in which the wheat gluten was used. Early April 2007 Cause: fraudulent addition of melamine to wheat gluten imported from China.
  • 25. Later (2007) Melamine and cyanuric acid, a compound structurally related to melamine, were also found in rice protein concentrate imported from China. Melamine levels: in wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate were in the range 0.2-8%. Fraud aim: to enhance the apparent protein content of wheat gluten and other protein sources. Consequences: animal health problems due to the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid forming crystals in the kydney of animals.
  • 26. RASFF ACTIONS (2007) 20 March 2007: melamine contamination incident was reported as an unknown hazard. In April 2007: the contamination with melamine was confirmed. 20 and 27 April 2007: Member States were requested to increase their alertness during the meeting of the Standing Committee (section Animal Nutrition) and Working Group meeting on the RASFF. 2 May 2007: Member States have been formally asked by the Commission to check consignments of wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran and rice protein concentrate originating from third countries, in particular from China, for the presence of melamine and related compounds and to report the results to the Commission through the RASFF.
  • 27. EFSA ACTIONS (2007) 8 May 2007: request of EFSA opinion by the Commission on the risks for animal health and public health associated to melamine and related compounds. 8 June 2007: EFSA issued a statement on this t