Food Safety Risks

Due to recent incidents and product recalls we see the need for a continuing strong and effective focus food safety in raw materials and ingredients, as well as effective traceability, remains important is clearly emphasized by the events of the past six months that have made headlines in the media and several product recalls.

In the autumn, several batches of sesame seeds with a high content of ethylene oxide were found. Contaminated Sesame Seed recalls The contaminated goods found their way not only on the shelves in the supermarkets but also as ingredients in many processed goods - and to such an extent that we still see recalls of them. In Denmark alone, we have now had 33 product recalls due to increased content of ethylene oxide in the period from 30 Sept. 2020 to 28 Feb. 2021.

Here at the beginning of the year we hear about suspected food fraud with “butter gate” where farmers in Canada are suspected of having increased the content of palm oil in feed for cattle, this with the aim of getting a higher fat percentage in the milk and thus higher settlement for this - ie. intentionally and financially conditioned. However, the measure has had the side effect that it has affected the consistency of butter made from the milk.

Buttergate Whether it ends up with a case of food fraud is uncertain as the addition is probably intentional but there is no health risk to the consumer.

However both examples emphasize the importance of an effective food safety system and to stay up to date and assess new risks in the food supply chain.

Many databases are available on food safety issues, I prefer using the European RASFF database for food and feed safety alerts, where searches can be done on product type and/or hazard. RASFF Database