Food safety concerns rising in Spain

Fri 07/10/2022 by Richard Wilkinson
Valencian supermarket, fruit and vegetables shelves. The image is released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.

The number of food alerts in Spain increased by 32.5% in 2021 to 473 cases, which was 75.8% more than five years ago, with most relating to chemical hazards due to phytosanitary residues in products of plant origin, according to a report released by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (Aesan).

In addition to these 473 alerts, there were 276 “information notifications” (notifications that do not require immediate action), giving a total of 749 notifications. Around 41% of these 749 notifications were for products of plant origin and 38% for those of animal origin.

Regarding the reason, 63.4% were notified due to chemical hazards, especially phytosanitary residues resulting from unauthorised substances being found in food or above the established limits. 20% were due to biological hazards, where notifications due to the presence of bacteria stand out and, to a lesser extent, due to biotoxins or viruses. The main biological agents causing warnings were salmonella bacteria (61 notifications), E. coli (27) and listeria (20).

12% of notifications in 2021 were due to other hazards (mainly labelling defects) and the remaining 5% due to the presence of physical hazards (mainly foreign bodies).

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