July – Food Safety News and Industry Round-up
July 2019 saw the introduction of the new FSMA rule for Intentional Adulteration, a revision of SQF Edition 8, a ground-breaking trade deal between EFSA and Mercosur, the detection of African Swine Fever within Europe, a Codex promise to tackle E.coli, and much more.
Each of these stories are distilled by their most crucial talking points in our monthly industry round-up video.
The video is also accompanied with a full transcript below, and sources for more detailed reading.
- Intentional Adulteration Rule
The Intentional Adulteration rule for FSMA came into effect this July.
Businesses with more than 500 full-time employees are now required to have created and follow a written food defense plan.
Smaller businesses may still have 1 to 2 years to comply depending on size.
More on Intentional Adulteration Rule
- Final Rule Updating Tolerances for Animal Drug Residues in Food
The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine issued a final rule on tolerances for animal drugs in food. These new regulations will only apply to foods intended for human consumption.
The new rule will standardize, simplify, and clarify the determination standards of tolerances and provide definitions for key terms.
It will also enhance understanding of tolerance determination and improve the overall readability of the relevant regulations.
This rule is effective from September 9th, 2019.
- FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting
During June the FDA released draft guidance on reducing microbial food safety hazards in the production of seed for sprouting.
The recommendations apply for growing, conditioning, packing, holding or distributing seed for sprouting.
This guidance follows 50 outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contaminated sprouts between 1996 and August 2018, which caused more than an estimated 2,600 illnesses.
SQF Edition 8.1 released
SQFI published the newest edition of the SQF Code, Edition 8.1 at the start of the month.
The changes in 8.1 will not affect the majority of certified sites as the updates were mild and mostly concerned content clarification, formatting and grammar changes.
EU/Mercosur trade deal announced
The EU and Mercosur have agreed a trade deal after 20 years of negotiations which will impact the trade tariffs on a number of products, including meat exports, from members of Mercosur to the EU.
The current bilateral trade between the two is worth more than €100bn in goods and services, and details of the quota administration for beef and poultry are expected to be defined in the time to come.
- EFSA research needs defined
The European Food Safety Authority have announced their food safety research needs and priorities in support of the food safety risk assessment in the coming years.
Focusing specifically on three research streams, Safe Food Systems, Innovation in Risk Assessment, and Holistic Risk Assessment, the research needs will be applied when developing future Safe Food Systems and EFSA’s strategy for 2027.
- EFSA accused of bias over Aspartame
A report by the University of Sussex claims the European Food Safety Authority may have been biased by ‘conflicts of interest’ over the sale of aspartame.
The report claims EFSA discounted the results of 73 studies suggesting aspartame could be harmful to health while 84% of the studies showing no harm at first evidence were accepted as reliable.
EFSA have maintained the conclusion of its original report was the result of intensive scrutiny and followed two public calls for data which received more than 200 comments during the consultation period of its draft opinion.
The question of aspartame’s permitted sale now remains with the European Commission.
Codex to develop guidelines for E.coli in certain foods
The Codex Alimentarius Commission has begun the development of guidelines to control Shiga toxin-producing E.coli in certain foods, which it announced at its annual meeting earlier this month in Geneva.
It is expected the project could take up to five years to complete and will support risk management for S-TEC in beef, leafy greens, raw milk, cheese and sprouts.
UK FSA appoints new CEO
The UK Food Standards Agency has appointed a new CEO in Emily Miles, the current director-general for the EU exit delivery group at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
She will begin the new position in September.
African Swine Fever detected in Bulgaria
Enhanced efforts are currently being implemented by the Bulgarian government to limit the spread of African Swine Fever following the reports of several different instances in the country lately.
The country’s pig breeding industry is worth almost $350m and potential damages if it fails to cope with the spread of the disease could total as high as more than $1bn as 1.2million pigs could be affected.
News on Second outbreak detected
Reuters: Bulgaria steps up measures to prevent spread
Reuters: Spread continues amidst a state of emergency
Academics question UK salt reduction strategy
Research from Imperial College London claims that a strategy by the British government to lower salt intake may have caused close to 10,000 additional cases of heart disease or stroke, and around 1,500 cases of stomach cancer between 2011 to 2018.
It claims that after the Public Health Responsibility Deal was introduced yearly declines in salt intake fell significantly and this could be responsible for the extra cases.
In its wake, action groups have called for more robust policies on salt following the expiry of the last salt reduction targets at the end of 2017.
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