Data showing the scale of pesticide residues on food have been published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

110,829 food samples were collected in the European Union in 2022. Results show that 96.3 percent were within legally permitted levels. Of these, 65,374 samples did not contain quantifiable residues, while 37.3 percent had residues not above the limits.

Overall, 4,148 exceeded the maximum residue level (MRL), of which 2,383 were non‐compliant after considering measurement uncertainty and triggering legal sanctions or enforcement actions.

In 2021, 96.1 of the samples were within permitted levels. The MRL exceedance rate was 3.9 percent, and

Continue Reading EFSA shares 2022 data on pesticide residues in food

Scientists in Europe have updated the knowledge around parasites in fish based on available surveillance data.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific opinion also evaluated methods for detecting and killing parasites in fish.

European data indicates that many species of farmed fish are free from parasites that can infect humans. These include Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, gilthead seabream, turbot, meagre, Atlantic halibut, carp, and European catfish.  

However, Anisakis pegreffii, Anisakis simplex and Cryptocotyle lingua were found in European seabass, Atlantic bluefin tuna and/or cod, and Pseudamphistomum truncatum and Paracoenogonimus ovatus in tench, produced in open offshore cages or flow-through ponds

Continue Reading EFSA evaluates parasites in fish and related control methods

Consumer Reports (CR) has found concerning discoveries regarding pesticide contamination in everyday fruits and vegetables in a newly released investigation. The report, representing CR’s most extensive analysis to date, examines the pervasive presence of harmful pesticides in our food supply, raising critical questions about food safety and regulatory oversight.

While the exact extent of the health risks posed by chronic pesticide exposure remains uncertain, evidence from various studies suggests a link between pesticides and increased risks of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other health problems. Particularly vulnerable populations, such as farmworkers and their families, face heightened risks, with

Continue Reading Consumer Reports investigation raises concerns about pesticides in produce

The presence of foodborne pathogens in raw beef imported into the European Union is low, according to a study.

Microbiological quality of 100 raw beef samples sent to the EU was investigated. Samples of beef imported from November 2021 to May 2022 were collected at the Border Control Post of Hamburg Harbor in Germany. In total, 53 samples came from Brazil, 33 from Argentina, 12 from Uruguay, and two from Paraguay. 

In 2021, there were 283,729 tons of beef imported into the EU, representing an increase of 26 percent compared to 2020. The main suppliers were Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Continue Reading Scientists find beef imports into Europe largely safe

An investigation by Consumer Reports has raised concerns regarding the safety of Lunchables, a popular prepackaged lunch product marketed for children. The investigation revealed that some Lunchables kits contained lead and other harmful contaminants, posing potential risks to children’s health. This comes amidst broader concerns about lead contamination in children’s food products, including recent issues with lead in children’s cinnamon applesauce products.

The investigation by Consumer Reports found that Lunchables, along with similar lunch and snack kits from other brands, contained potentially concerning levels of lead, phthalates, and sodium. Lead, a heavy metal, is particularly harmful, as even small amounts

Continue Reading Consumer Reports investigation finds high levels of lead in Lunchables

Two studies have been published looking at Toxoplasma in Spanish dry-cured meat products and in meat of adult sheep.

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Transmission has been attributed to eating undercooked or raw meat.

In the first study, published in the journal Food Control, 552 samples of commercial dry-cured hams, shoulders and dry-cured sausages of different brands from different parts in Spain were purchased for analysis. These were 311 dry-cured hams/shoulders and 241 dry-cured sausages, including samples of chorizo, fuet/longaniza, and salchichón. Dry-cured meats are ready-to-eat (RTE) products and can be consumed without prior cooking.

Information on labels of each meat

Continue Reading Researchers detect low Toxoplasma risk from cured meat products

Researchers have highlighted cases of tropane alkaloid contamination in Italy and called for increased monitoring and regulation.

The study detailed recent cases of tropane alkaloid intoxication after the consumption of spinach and spinach-based foods in Italy during October 2022. Symptoms can include a dry mouth, difficulty speaking and swallowing, tachycardia, drowsiness, dizziness, hallucinations, and delirium.

Incidents were linked to leafy vegetables contaminated with tropane alkaloids, likely due to cross-contamination with toxic plants from the Datura genus. Controls were unable to identify the specific weed responsible but chemical analysis of the remaining spinach and spinach-based foods consumed by affected people revealed atropine and scopolamine. 

Italian examples

Continue Reading Scientists highlight tropane alkaloid contamination in Italy

Researchers in Slovenia have detailed a case of food fraud that posed risks to public health.

The incident involved the illegal use of sulfites in meat preparations and ground (minced) meat in Slovenia in 2019. It was judged to be an intentional act for economic gain.

The case began with a consumer’s notification of an allergic-like reaction after consuming a meat product. While authorities reacted by intensifying controls on markets and retailers, the risk management and risk communication analysis showed shortcomings, including a slow response time, a lack of recall of sulfite-treated meat products, and an in-depth risk assessment. 

Sulfites

Continue Reading Slovenian study reflects on health risks posed in fraud case

The Dave Theno Food Safety Fellowship, established in honor of the late food safety advocate David M. Theno, is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 program. The application deadline is set for Friday, April 5, 2024. This fellowship presents a unique opportunity for recent graduates (2019-2024) with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Food Science, Animal Science, or Food Policy to contribute to the field of food safety.

Dave Theno

David Theno, a former senior vice president and chief food safety officer for Jack in the Box, dedicated his career to creating a culture of food safety. The fellowship, based

Continue Reading Dave Theno Food Safety Fellowship opens applications for 2024-2025 program

Researchers have looked into the number of and factors behind Salmonella outbreaks linked to chocolate products in recent decades.

No predominant Salmonella serotype was identified, according to the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal study.

Researchers performed a systematic review of three databases. Eligible articles were published after 1970, describing outbreaks of more than ten patients with non-typhoidal salmonellosis associated with consuming chocolate food products.

Twenty-three articles published between 1972 and 2022 were part of the final analysis. They described 12 Salmonella outbreaks linked to chocolate consumption. 

Examples of outbreaks
A dozen outbreaks involved 3,266 patients. Two occurred in the 1970s

Continue Reading Review finds seasonal impact of chocolate-related Salmonella outbreaks