Brazil and Italy top country of origin for food recalls

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Brazilian poultry alerts decreasing according to Q3 EU index. Picture: iStock/alicjane
Brazilian poultry alerts decreasing according to Q3 EU index. Picture: iStock/alicjane
Brazil was the top country of origin for recalls and notifications for the second quarter in a row closely followed by Italy, according to Stericycle Expert Solutions.

It accounted for 85 notices in Europe in Q3 and 75 were poultry. Italy was second with 84 followed by Spain (49), India (48) and US (45).

However, compared with Q2, recalls relating to poultry dropped from 223 to 137, with those from Brazil down by 56.9%. The majority of products were rejected at the border and not put on the market.

Brazilian meat imports were put under the spotlight following an investigation in the sector earlier this year.

Reduction in Brazilian poultry notices

Stericycle said this indicates an improvement but more work needs to be done to bring numbers back down to historical levels.

Other sectors of recalls were fish/fish products (106) and nuts/nut products/seeds (104).

Reasons for fish recalls were mercury (38 of 106: 35.8%); poor temperature control (19.8%); parasitic infestation (11.3%); histamine (11.3%); Listeria Monocytogenes (8.5%) and other reasons (13.2%).

Farzad Henareh, European VP at Stericycle Expert Solutions, said: “We can clearly see that measures taken in Brazil at the beginning of the quarter have helped to reduce the number of recalls and notifications relating to Brazilian poultry exports by quite a margin.

“However, an incident of this nature only reinforces the importance of very high food standards and rigorous legislation.”

Separate criteria for fresh poultry meat and preparations

Brazil recently raised concerns at a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting regarding the European Union's inspection and rejection of poultry meat shipments due to detection of Salmonella.

The country argued that EU authorities had applied a stricter standard than publicly announced and requested the EU provide scientific evidence as to why there are two separate criteria for fresh poultry meat and meat preparations.

The EU said its microbiological criteria for meat preparations are stricter than for fresh poultry meat.

As salt is normally added to fresh poultry meat for export to the EU, the end product is defined as meat preparations, and stricter standards apply.

Bacterial contamination domination

For the third consecutive quarter, the main reason for recalls was risk of bacterial contamination, which was behind 226 (26.1%) of the 866 notices.

In Q3, 188 recalls were caused due to presence of Salmonella (19.7% of Q3 recalls).

Salmonella was also a significant reason for recalls in feed materials (16 of 37), meat and meat products (other than poultry) (15 of 46) and nuts, nut products and seeds (11 of 104).

The index also shows that chemicals, which can range from pesticides to contaminants from plastic packaging, was the second highest (185, 21.4%) recall cause.

A total of 93 recalls were due to presence of aflatoxins (9.7% of Q3 recalls).

The only other categories with more than one recall due to aflatoxins were herbs and spices (11 of 38) and fruits and vegetables (six of 99).

There were 959 food/feed/FCM recalls reporting via RASFF in Q2 2017 and 702 in Q3 2016.

Top notifying countries this quarter were Italy, the Netherlands and Germany accounting for 43.3% of recalls and notifications.

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