The number of food and other fraud suspicions discussed by European countries has continued to rise from 277 in January and 318 in February to 345 in March.

Issues identified are potential, but not confirmed, frauds. The listed non-compliances may prompt investigations by authorities in EU member states. Data comes from the third monthly report published by the European Commission. 

The report includes suspected cross-border fraud topics shared between members of the Alert and Cooperation Network (ACN) and retrieved from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), Administrative Assistance and Cooperation Network (AAC) and the Agri-Food Fraud Network (FFN).

It covers food, animal feed, food-contact materials, animal welfare for farmed animals, plant protection products, and veterinary medicine products that end up as residues and contaminants in food and feed.

The aims are to assist national authorities in the organization of risk-based controls to help the food sector with vulnerability assessments and to identify emerging risks.

Ten cases mention the United States
In total, 113 notices mentioned fruit and vegetables. Dietetic foods, supplements, and fortified foods were in second place with 33 alerts, followed by cereals and bakery products with 27 notices. These are the same top three as in the previous month.

The majority of issues were detected through border inspections or market controls. A few were based on whistleblower information, media monitoring, and consumer complaints. Thirty-four were found by a company’s check.

In March, 10 alerts involved the United States. They included sunset yellow in candy, allura red in snacks, benzoic acid in lemonade, rapeseed instead of soybean oil, and supplements with ingredients not authorized in Europe. More than 40 notifications mentioned Turkey, 36 for China, and 22 for India.

Product tampering cases included additives not compliant with EU maximum levels, such as sulfites in shrimp from Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bangladesh. Adulteration examples were chicken DNA in pork and beef salami from Romania, the absence of sheep’s milk in a cheese from Greece, and pork DNA in beef salami from Slovenia.

Unapproved processes featured irradiation of a food supplement, titanium dioxide in chewing gum and a drink, and ethylene oxide in herbs and spices from Turkey and India.

Highlighted non-compliances
Record tampering incidents included changing the best-before date of rice from Germany, olive oil quality classification from France, Italy, and Spain, and potential document fraud on various food products from Brazil.

A falsified producer was identified for wine from France. According to Italy’s notification, hatching eggs from the UK were sold for human consumption.

Spain reported the unauthorized placing of beans, nuts, seeds, and spices on the market, and concerns were raised about the transport temperature of food from France and the Netherlands.

Other non-compliances were ingredients not authorized in the EU and pesticides above the maximum residue limits (MRL). Several alerts mentioned traceability defects and products skipping border controls.

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