Reflection and progression seemed to be central themes this February as the FDA reported that FSVP infractions were the main reasons for citations following observations, while EU nations have reported difficulties performing their own observations due to a lack of resources.
Read more on each of these and other areas of note for the global food industry below.
FDA releases observation violations for food facilities
The FDA has revealed the main sources of violations conducted in the Fiscal Year of 2020 (October 2019 – September 2020).
While FSVP citations remained the main source of violations, other citations were lower across the board, this being mainly attributed to the restrictions placed on audits from COVID-19.
The main sources of citations were:
- Foreign supplier compliance programs
- Hazard analysis
- Pest Control
- Manufacturing controls
Kombucha Act awaiting discussion before US congress
A new act has been prepared for the US congress that will see the raising of the alcoholic threshold of Kombucha products to allow them to benefit from tax incentives designed for non-alcoholic products.
The KOMBUCHA Act (otherwise known as the Keeping Our Manufacturers from Being Unfairly taxed while Championing Health Act) will allow the alcoholic threshold to be raised from 0.5% abv to 1.25%.
Hard Kombucha which is already taxed as an alcohol product, will be unaffected.
The act has been prepared and is currently awaiting the right tax vehicle before further consideration.
European plan for fully circular beverage packaging by 2030
A European trade organization that represents non-alcoholic beverages has set a target for European beverage packaging to be fully circular by 2030.
UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe which represents 233 national associations in Europe has also set an interim goal for 50% rPET products by 2025 across the EU, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK.
EU lack of resources affect food controls
Many EU countries have self-reported that a lack of resources has meant they have been unable to perform all planned checks for food and feed law, animal health and welfare, plant health and protection products, organic farming, and quality schemes.
The reason for the limitations has been largely attributed to staffing levels, financial and equipment resources, however, it was also noted that improved training, data analysis, IT-tools, and desk-based controls have improved the efficiency of controls as well.
EU extends temporary control rules
The EU has extended temporary rules for official controls for the fourth time since March 2020.
The new extension is envisioned to last until July 2021 and will mean the continuation of loosened rules that were deemed necessary to preserve transparency across supply chains in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Food labeling in Scotland and Ireland
Scotland will join the rest of the UK this October by applying ‘Natasha’s law’ for food labeling.
The change will require food businesses to include the product name and full ingredients and allergen list on foods that are pre-packed for direct scale.
The introduction of the law comes following a comment period in 2019 and Food Standards Scotland will continue to work with food businesses for the remainder of the year to prepare for the changes.
The changes in Scotland come at the same time the Irish government has opened a public consultation on the issue of front-of-pack food labeling.
Almost 1 in 5 fish products in Taiwan found to be fraudulent
A study by the Scientific Reports journal has revealed that almost 20% of fish products sold in Taiwan are mislabelled.
Using DNA barcoding technology, the study has revealed that snapper and cod are most vulnerable to substitution and are often replaced with tilapia and halibut, while surimi is likely to often be mislabeled as lobster or cod.