BELGIUM, Brussels. The EU has one of the highest food safety standards in the world – largely thanks to the solid set of EU legislation in place, which ensures that food is safe for consumers. A key tool to ensure the flow of information to enabling swift reaction when risks to public health are detected in the food chain is RASFF – the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.
The RASFF was put in place to provide food and feed control authorities with an effective tool to exchange information about measures taken responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.
The 2017 RASFF annual report provides a profound insight into the activity of the RASFF in 2017. The data on the notifications by the Member States are analysed and presented by country, type of food and type of hazard.
In 2017, 46% of RASFF notifications concerned controls at the outer EEA borders points of entry or border inspection posts when the consignment was not accepted for import. A total of 3832 original notifications were transmitted through the RASFF, of which 942 were classified as alert, 596 as information for follow-up, 706 as information for attention and 1588 as border rejection notification. These original notifications gave rise to 9117 follow-up notifications, representing an average of 2.4 follow-ups per original notification.
For alert notifications this average rises to an impressive 6.1 follow-ups per original notification. Compared to 2016, the number of alert notifications, implying a serious health risk of a product circulating on the market, rose by 11% with 24% more follow-ups transmitted.
The overall figures present a very significant 28% increasein original notifications compared to 2016 together with a 25% increase in follow-up notifications, resulting in an overall increase of 26%.
For the first time in a very long time, the number of notifications on pathogenic microorganisms in food from non-member countries is higher than the number on mycotoxin issues. It is related to the many checks on poultry from Brazil, which included 320 notifications for Salmonella from poultry and poultry meat products. There were also Salmonella infections linked to Polish eggs and Salami from Spain.