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Salmonella, pesticide residues, lead and tin caused EU food concerns last week


Lead, tin, salmonella and unacceptable pesticide residues were among the hazards in fruit and vegetables listed by the EU’s  RASFF – Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed – portal last week.
Frozen raspberries from Ukraine with a high content of lead – 0.38 mg/kg –  were reported by Poland as rejected at border before being placed on the market.
Similarly, the UK refused paan leaves from India for the presence of Salmonella spp.
And red grapes from Peru and oranges and lemons from Turkey – all linked to unacceptable pesticide residues – were among other foods rejected at border within the EU.

Tin in loquats, pesticide residues in minneolas

Tin in loquats from China and Germany provoked an alert after a report from Switzerland and residues of the pesticide carbofuran were behind information notifications issued for foods including spring onions from Thailand and fresh chili and cabbage from Vietnam.

A notification was also issued for minneolas from the US after The Netherlands reported the presence of an unauthorised substance, the pesticide carbaryl at 2.4 mg/kg.

RASFF notification types

According to the RASFF, border rejections concern food and feed consignments that have been tested and rejected at the external borders of the EU (and the European Economic Area – EEA) when a health risk has been found. The notifications are sent to all EEA border posts in order to reinforce controls and ensure that the rejected product does not re-enter the EU through another border post.

Alert notifications are sent when a food or feed presenting a serious health risk is on the market and when rapid action is required. The RASFF member that identifies the problem and takes the relevant actions (e.g. withdrawal of the product) triggers the alert. The goal of the notification is to give all RASFF members the information to confirm whether the product in question is on their market, so that they can also take the necessary measures.

While information notifications are used when a risk has been identified about food or feed placed on the market, but the other members do not have to take rapid action. This is because the product has not reached their market or is no longer present on their market or because the nature of the risk does not require rapid action.

RASFF notifications

Image: Warning sign by penubag via Wikimedia Commons





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Pesticide residues, salmonella behind recent food safety alerts in Europe



Salmonella found in rocket, radish sprouts, paan leaves

Two reports of the presence of salmonella in rucola (rocket) from Italy are among 60 fruit and vegetable notifications posted on the  RASFF – Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed – in the month to December 23.

According to the site, Norway was the source of information that a sample of Italian rucola taken on on December 8 tested positive for Salmonella Napoli. It said the product was withdrawn from the market.

And Norway reported a sample of Italian rucola taken on December 1 tested positive for Salmonella Kottbus and was returned to the consignor.


Rucola (image by Leo Michels via Wikimedia Commons)


In a case reported by the UK, Salmonella spp. was found in December 1 samples from paan leaves from India and the import rejected at the border.

Another pathogen, bacillus cereus, was detected in radish sprouts from the Netherlands, according to a notification from Germany.


Border rejections

There were 38 reports in the month to date in the RASFF category of ‘border rejection’, with the majority involving dried fruit, mostly dried figs and apricots from Turkey.

Among fresh foods rejected at border were:

  • Strawberries from Egypt, pesticide residue (methomyl 0.18 mg/kg, reported by Italy)

  • Strawberries from Egypt, pesticide residue (thiophanate-methyl 0.54 mg/kg, reported by Italy)

  • Artichokes from Tunisia, pesticide residue (dimethoate 0.79 mg/kg, reported by Italy)

  • Broccoli from China, pesticide residue (carbendazim 2.1 mg/kg and promecarb 48 mg/kg, reported by the Netherlands)


More than a third of notifications due to pesticide residues

Altogether, pesticide residues accounted for 24 of the 60 RASFF notifications, including:

  • Apples from Poland: dimethoate 0.084 mg/kg, information from Poland

  • Grapes from Spain: ethephon 1.4 mg/kg, information from the UK

  • Grapes from Peru: ethephon 2.4 mg/kg, information from the Netherlands

  • Grapes from Brazil: ethephon 0.9 mg/kg, information from the Netherlands

  • Grapes from Greece: captan (6.525 mg/kg, information from Bulgaria

  • Broccoli from Spain: fluazifop-P-butyl 0.49 mg/kg, information from the Netherlands

  • Cherry tomatoes from Italy: fenamiphos 0.13 mg/kg, information from Switzerland

  • Tomatoes from Poland; flonicamid 0.73 mg/kg, information from Czech Republic

  • Lemons from Albania: fenitrothion 0.053 mg/kg, information from Bulgaria

  • Lettuce from Poland: iprodione 33.6 mg/kg, information from Czech Republic

  • Dragon fruit from Vietnam: iprodione 0.093 mg/kg, information from Belgium

  • Dragon fruit from Thailand: carbendazim 1.5 mg/kg, information from Italy


Among other notifications was one from Slovakia that spinach from Italy was found to have too high a content of nitrate (4439.2 mg/kg – ppm).


RASFF portal