Two audits of the well being and security unit of the European Fee have analyzed the security of meals of non-animal origin in Italy and France.
A current report on a distant audit from DG Sante, in September 2021 in Italy, discovered that the system is unable to confirm that meals is produced underneath circumstances that meet EU hygiene requirements designed to stop contamination by pathogens. . Meals corporations didn’t appropriately apply the laws on sprouts and the authorities didn’t systematically implement it. Eleven suggestions had been made.
Italy is without doubt one of the primary producers of fruit and greens within the EU and a serious producer of seeds for sprouting.
The Ministry of Well being initially knowledgeable the audit staff that major manufacturing earlier than and through harvest was not its accountability. This resulted in no official controls on microbial dangers being carried out.
Inspectors met by the audit staff confirmed gaps in information of farm-level meals hygiene necessities to stop microbiological contamination in out of doors manufacturing. The 2 areas visited additionally reported employees shortages.
Major manufacturing issues
An inspection just isn’t a compulsory requirement for major producers and processors to be registered and isn’t carried out previous to registration. The registration of major producers of seeds for germination just isn’t necessary all through Italy.
The inspections don’t cowl facets related to microbiological dangers associated to development levels and harvest, such because the presence and adequacy of bathrooms and handwashing services within the fields.
In one of many two sprout manufacturing websites assessed by the auditors, approval was given even though a critical non-compliance associated to the absence of an import certificates was not corrected on the time or through the controls within the following seven years . This manufacturing unit makes use of seeds grown overseas and labeled as “seeds for human consumption, not for germination”.
Generic checklists for factories producing sprouts additionally forestall inspectors from finishing up constant official controls.
In a single area, corporations had been taking environmental samples for Listeria monocytogenes after cleanup when the foundations state this have to be achieved earlier than cleanup.
A multi-country Listeria outbreak linked to scalded frozen greens between 2015 and 2018 didn’t set off particular actions by authorities. The audit staff famous that the kind of product and course of doesn’t considerably have an effect on an institution’s danger class, so frozen greens and berries may have the identical frequency of inspection as potatoes.
As a follow-up to the RASFF notifications, on-the-spot controls of microbiological dangers in major manufacturing, earlier than or throughout harvest, are missing. Because of this the foundation reason behind the contamination is usually unknown.
A distant audit in France in November and December 2021 additionally discovered issues on the major manufacturing degree and DG Sante officers made 4 suggestions.
France is the EU’s third largest producer of contemporary cultivated greens, together with melons and strawberries.
The audit staff famous deficiencies within the employees’s information of microbiology.
For major manufacturing, the registration system doesn’t present info on the producers of seeds for germination, so the dangers can’t be taken under consideration when figuring out the frequency of controls, which prevents ample official controls based mostly on within the danger.
The authorities had been unable to supply info on the variety of French producers of seeds for sprouting. Because of this official controls can’t be prioritized over microbiological dangers.
In processing crops, inspectors deal with analytical outcomes of ultimate merchandise. They don’t verify whether or not corporations have a system of environmental swabs on the manufacturing stage, to stop contamination of meals with Listeria monocytogenes, as required by EU regulation.
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