EU Controls ensure our food is safe - EU Commission 20 Jul 2012
The European Commission have published a report which has found that thanks to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) many food safety risks have been averted or mitigated and safety controls ensure our food is safe. RASFF plays a key role in ensuring safety from "farm to fork", by triggering a rapid reaction when a food safety risk is detected. All members of the RASFF system are swiftly informed of serious risks found in food or feed so that together they can react to food safety threats in a coordinated way to protect the health of EU citizens. John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, said: "In 2011, we dealt with a number of important crises such as the effects of the Fukushima nuclear incident, the dioxin and the E. coli crisis. The EU managed to tackle them and the lessons we all learnt will no doubt guide us to do even better in the future."
In 2011, 9157 notifications in RASFF related to non-compliances with EU food legislation were reported, of which 617 concerned serious risks. Most of the notifications were follow-ups (5345) rather than new (3812) notifications. This reflects an increased effectiveness of the system with a better targeting and a more extensive follow-up. Out of the 3812 new notifications: 3139 concerned food, 361 concerned feed and 312 concerned food contact materials. Some of the most reported issues were aflatoxins in feed, dried fruits and nuts and migration of chemical substances from kitchen utensils from China.
The report notes the success of safety check at EU borders, stating that almost half of the notifications related to food and feed rejected at EU borders. When such a product is identified, RASFF informs the non-EU country in question asking them to take corrective action and to prevent the problem from happening again. When a serious and persistent problem is detected, the country in question is asked by the Commission to apply urgent corrective measures such as delisting establishments, blocking exports or intensifying controls.