An agency in Ireland has published a notice to try to reduce the incidence of contaminated oysters in the market and minimize norovirus-related illnesses.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) Food Safety Information Notice covers strategies to manage norovirus risks in oysters.

It coincides with the SFPA and Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI) annual food safety workshop in late February, which focused on norovirus and food incidents.

Norovirus is transmitted through the consumption of food or water contaminated with fecal matter or through contact with infected individuals or surfaces. The virus can be present in discharges from wastewater treatment systems.

Continue Reading Irish agency highlights shellfish norovirus risk

Recent enforcement actions in Portugal have covered products including eggs, shellfish, meat, and oils.

The Food and Economic Safety Authority’s (ASAE) central regional unit recently inspected egg classification and packing centers in Leiria and Ansião.

Checks revealed that eggs, already packaged and ready for consumption, did not have all the necessary identification details, violating national and European regulations.

More than 112,500 eggs were seized with an estimated value of €15,000 ($16,400), and two administrative offense proceedings were opened.

Warehouse findings and illegal operator
Previously, ASAE’s southern unit removed 70 tons of food from cold storage warehouses worth about €250,000 ($273,500).

Continue Reading Operations in Portugal lead to seizures of various food products

The European Commission has extended restrictions on imports of bivalve mollusks from Turkey.

The measures for bivalve mollusks, such as clams, oysters, and mussels, will now apply until the end of December 2026.

The short shelf life of live and chilled bivalve mollusks effectively rules out testing at the border. This means imports are banned. Consignments of frozen and processed bivalve mollusks are tested for marine biotoxins, and shipments of frozen mollusks are tested for E. coli.

Measures were introduced following DG Sante audits, which identified problems in implementing official controls by Turkish authorities on the production of bivalve mollusks

Continue Reading EU extends Turkish shellfish curbs; updates other rules

According to an annual report published recently, the number of notifications in a Spanish food alert system went down in 2022.

The 880 notifications in the Coordinated System for the Rapid Information Exchange of Information (SCIRI) are declining from the record high of 1,081 alerts in 2021.

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) coordinates national actions related to food products and food contact materials that may pose a risk to public health. The agency said the fall in notifications could be linked to the reduced influence of COVID-19 pandemic measures and fewer ethylene oxide alerts.

Fewer alerts and

Continue Reading Spain sees decline in alerts for 2022

The European Commission’s health and safety unit has found significant problems with Bulgaria’s control system for live bivalve mollusks.

A remote DG Sante audit from April to May 2023 revealed the majority of requirements in EU legislation were not being met.

Auditors found no system of official controls on bivalve mollusks and marine gastropods from classified production areas and outside them until harvesting or landing. There was no monitoring of production areas for microbiological, chemical contaminants, or biotoxins.

There are some checks in establishments at the final product level, but without primary production controls, they are insufficient to provide adequate

Continue Reading Audit reveals Bulgaria not meeting EU requirements

A pilot study in France has pointed to a significant under-reporting of shellfish-related foodborne outbreaks.

The objectives of the research were to quantify and describe the health impact of shellfish-related outbreaks as well as the circumstances of occurrence in Brittany, with the end goal of reducing their frequency.

An online questionnaire looked at shellfish consumption between November 2021 and April 2022, the practice of shore fishing, and the occurrence of shellfish outbreaks over the past five years.

A total of 438 responses were received between May and July 2022. Most respondents were women, the median age was 46, and 21

Continue Reading The study supports the view that shellfish outbreaks are under-reported

The Irish agency responsible for seafood controls has revealed alleged illness from shellfish and detection of pathogens in products in its 2022 annual report.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is tasked with ensuring seafood safety for consumers up to retail and verifying seafood trade.

2022 was described as a challenging year for Ireland’s seafood sector with continuing repercussions from Brexit, the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impact of COVID-19 in export markets, and the energy and cost-of-living crises.

Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers (SFPOs) carried out 1,958 food safety official controls across 2,323 premises. This included inspections of approved

Continue Reading Irish seafood agency reveals critical incidents and controls in 2022

Controls in EU countries on bivalve mollusks are not always adequate to protect consumer health, according to the European Commission.

Bivalve mollusks include mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops. France, Spain, Italy, and Greece make up more than 80 percent of the production in Europe, mostly from aquaculture.

They feed by filtering algae from surrounding water and can accumulate microorganisms and chemical contaminants. Some algae species produce marine biotoxins, which build up in the tissues of bivalve mollusks and when above certain levels, can lead to illness in humans.

The EU Commission gathered information from 15 bivalve mollusk-producing member states, through

Continue Reading EU raises public health concerns over bivalve mollusk controls.

Two audits by the European Commission’s health and safety agency have looked at checks on food of non-animal origin (FNAO) and bivalve mollusks in Turkey.

A DG Sante audit on FNAO, in September 2022, made three recommendations. The focus was microbiological contamination of soft berries like strawberries, leafy crops such as lettuce, and dry tomatoes for export to the European Union.

Food safety at primary production is addressed through, and depends on, good agricultural practices inspection and private certification systems. However, this does not cover small growers supplying export channels outside the main supermarket chains, and authorities do not verify

Continue Reading EU assesses produce and shellfish controls in Turkey

Iceland has been advised to improve official controls on shellfish and fish products.

An audit in May 2022 looked at hygiene controls of fishery products and fish oil for human consumption. Another in August and September covered live bivalve mollusks, including blue mussels.

Iceland is a substantial producer of fishery products. The biggest export markets are the United States, United Kingdom, China, and some European member states.

Iceland is in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) monitors how the country implements European Economic Area (EEA) rules on food and feed safety as well as animal

Continue Reading Audits find gaps in seafood controls in Iceland