September 28, 2018


Salmonella in poultry meat most common food issue at EU border



Salmonella in poultry meat was the most frequently reported issue in food checked at the EU border in 2017, according to "Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed" annual report.


The report, released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, by the European Commission also showed that mercury in swordfish was a major issue in food checked on the EU market.


Only a small percentage of the notifications in 2017 was related to feed (6%) and food contact materials (3.1%).


Also, in 2017 a high number of notifications were related to fipronil residues in eggs due to the illegal use of this substance as a biocide.


Overall, a total of 3,832 notifications of food or feed risks were reported to the European Commission in 2017. Of this number, 942 were classified as alert, indicating a serious health risk of a product, for which rapid action was required. The figure is 11% higher than in 2016.


Salmonella notifications up 22%


At 207 notifications, salmonella was up 22% from 2016, with meat taking up the bulk of the notifications. Some notifications were made for egg products.


The issue on heavy metals (122 notifications) continued to be dominated by the findings of mercury in fish, mostly from Spain, the report said. 


Mercury in swordfish was the most recurrent issue with 61 notifications, of which 47 were notified by Italy on swordfish of Spanish origin. 


Among the recurrent notifications involved poultry meat from Brazil (320 notifications, of which 293 were border rejections). They were mostly notified by the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.


Chicken meat from Thailand was also among the recurrent notifications (30 notifications, of which 21 were border rejections).


With 109 notifications, pesticide residues ranked second in the top 10 hazards for products from the EU, mainly due to the incident concerning the discovery of fipronil residues in eggs. The presence of fipronil in eggs was, however, related to an illegal use of fipronil as a veterinary medicinal product or biocide and not related to its use as a pesticide.