Exclusive FPC Member Updates

Sign up to become a member today! We provide year-round advice and support on all aspects of the fresh produce industry, along with exclusive networking forums, publications, field trips, group meetings, conferences and events.

FPC provides members with a regular summary spreadsheet of all notifications made by EU Member States, including information, border rejections and, on occasion, alerts.

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)  provides food and feed control authorities with the means  to exchange information about measures taken in response to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.

This exchange of information helps EU Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed. More in-depth analysis of RASFF performance is available in annual reports.

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EU RASFF notifications

At the January meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Plant Health there was a discussion on the following cases of interceptions. 

 

Discussions are ongoing about the high number of interceptions from several countries, but no conclusions have been drawn yet.

 

The Commission needs to explore more and engage with countries concerned bilaterally. It is expected that more information will come at the next committee meeting later this month.

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EU Plant Health Standing Committee - report

The Food Standards Agency is inviting feedback on proposals for a new survey to monitor tissue nitrate levels in domestically grown leafy green vegetables.

The survey will provide a snapshot of UK compliance rates with legislative maximum levels set in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1258/2011 of 2 December 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels for nitrates in foodstuffs.

There has been a long-established European Commission requirement (EC/1258/2011) requesting member states to communicate annually results of nitrate monitoring in leafy green vegetables, and report on the progress of the adoption of codes of good agricultural practice by industry.

Previously the FSA has funded the continuous monitoring of nitrate levels in leafy green vegetables over a period of more than eleven years.  The results from the last survey period 2014 to 2019 and earlier monitoring surveys have been published.

The approach differs from previous survey campaigns in that the scope will include domestically grown produce only.  There will be less emphasis on those categories where there has been an observed steady decline in nitrate occurrence such as iceberg lettuce and a greater focus on rocket where levels continue to increase year on year. There will also be a ramping up in sampling of kale, chard, bulls-blood, land cress and baby leaf to investigate how nitrate levels are fluctuating in these categories as market share increases.

For more details see the FSA outline.

Comments are invited on the survey design and how the occurrence data might be used to identify potential mitigation measures to further reduce nitrate levels.

All comments should be sent by email to ian.smith@food.gov.uk by 13 March 2020.

 

If FPC members would like FPC to comment on their behalf please email sian@freshproduce.org.uk

FSA seeks views on proposed survey of nitrate in leafy greens

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding to 31 January 2021.

The scheme, first announced in September 2019, had been due to close on 31 January 2020. To date,

applications have been made for around £18.5 million out of a possible £26 million – meaning there is at least £7.5 million left to claim from HMRC.

As well as supporting recruitment and improved IT capability, the money applied for so far could potentially fund nearly 15,000 training courses to help traders submit customs declarations.

Find out more here

Funding available to help businesses make customs declarations

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority has published its latest bulletin, summing up key activities during October-December 2019, as well as other useful news and information.

FPC is a member of the GLAA Labour Provider Labour User Liaison Group.  If you have something you want to raise with the GLAA, contact them direct, or let us know.

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GLAA Bulletin

The Groceries Code Adjudicator’s annual survey helps the GCA achieve progress for suppliers, demonstrating where retailers’ efforts have improved Code compliance and identifying areas for them to make improvements. 

 

It is an opportunity for suppliers to tell the GCA what Code issues they are facing and whether the regulated retailers are treating them fairly and lawfully.

Suppliers can complete the survey at www.yougov.com/GCA.

Read the full story here.

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Groceries Code Adjudicator - Annual Survey

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its report to the Home Secretary on a points-based immigration system. The government is currently considering the report’s recommendations before setting out further details on the UK’s future immigration system.

Read the full story here.

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MAC puts forward recommendations on a points-based immigration system and salary thresholds

The following concerns have been raised based on industry data with the European Commission as part of its review of levels for cadmium.

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Review of levels for cadmium

The UK is making significant steps in reducing its food waste, with total food waste levels falling by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018 – a 7% reduction per person and equivalent of filling London’s Royal Albert Hall ten times.

Read the full story here

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Food waste falls by 7% per person in three years

i2 FAST is proud to announce the first comprehensive and informative training courses to be held at i2 FAST, Hemel Hempstead.

 

The aim of the training courses is to assist the food and produce industry to manage its pesticide and microbiology testing programmes.


An Introduction to Microbiology - 11 February 2020, 9:30am to 3:30pm

An Introduction to Pesticides - 12 February 2020, 9:30am to 3:30pm

The day will include presentations and knowledge sharing from the expert team at i2 FAST.

For more information click here

i2 FAST hosts its first training course to the industry

The EU Commission has updated stakeholders on export-related developments in Algeria.

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New Algerian rules for payment restrict imports

The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organisation of a draft Regulation regarding the changes of maximum residue levels for chromafenozide, fluometuron, pencycuron, sedaxane, tau-fluvalinate and triazoxide.

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EU WTO notification - change of Maximum Residue Levels 

The European Commission has released its Implementing Regulation regarding arrangements for imports of organic products from third countries.

 

The rule requires the Certificate of Origin (COI) for organic  goods to be issued prior to the vessel’s departure.  

 

Any COI issued after the date of the Bill of Lading (B/L) will mean that the consignment will be degraded to being conventional goods and treated as such at customs.

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Certificate of Organic Inspection COI issue prior to vessel's departure - update

Ehc UK is running a Level 2 HACCP course on 27 January in Dereham. There will be two exams, one for catering and one for manufacturing, and the course is applicable to both sectors.

 

For more information see this link.  FPC members can benefit from a discount on the cost of training course.

Ehc UK offers a wide range of training courses to suit your needs, including e-learning courses, and face-to-face training and consultancy in food safety and health and safety.

For more information on the training courses offered by Ehc UK see the EHC UK Corporate Brochure and 2020 course flyer and contact: 0800 689 3512 or email: ehc@breckland-sholland.gov.uk

Ehc UK is owned and operated by Breckland and South Holland District Councils. FPC has a Primary Authority Partnership with this local authority to provide advice to FPC members in the event of potential contamination of products arising from stowaways on board vehicles.

 

For more information on the partnership contact sian@freshproduce.org.uk

Food Safety and HACCP

The European Food Safety Authority has published reviews of existing Maximum Residue Levels for thiencarbazone‐methyl and for fluxapyroxad.

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EFSA reviews of MRLs

The Pesticides Residues in Food Expert Committee has published the findings of its rolling reporting programme, with samples taken from April – August 2019.

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Pesticide residues in food - UK monitoring

The European Commission has published regulations with regard to the non-renewal of the approval status of chlorpyrifos & chlorpyrifos-methyl in the EU.

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Non-renewal of active substances chlorpyrifos & chlorpyrifos-methyl

Following an opinion from the European Food Safety Authority the European Commission is considering the possibility of setting regulatory levels for hydrocyanic acid in cassava and cassava products destined for human consumption.

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Possible levels for hydrocyanic acid in cassava

The European Food Safety Authority gives its opinions on modification of existing Maximum Residue Levels and peer reviews pesticide risk assessments for certain active substances.

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EFSA reviews MRLs and risk assessments for actives

This Opinion considers the application of whole genome sequencing (WGS) and metagenomics for outbreak investigation, source attribution and risk assessment of food‐borne pathogens. WGS offers the highest level of bacterial strain discrimination for food‐borne outbreak investigation and source‐attribution as well as potential for more precise hazard identification, thereby facilitating more targeted risk assessment and risk management.

WGS improves linking of sporadic cases associated with different food products and geographical regions to a point source outbreak and can facilitate epidemiological investigations, allowing also the use of previously sequenced genomes. Source attribution may be favoured by improved identification of transmission pathways, through the integration of spatial‐temporal factors and the detection of multidirectional transmission and pathogen–host interactions.

Metagenomics has potential, especially in relation to the detection and characterisation of non‐culturable, difficult‐to‐culture or slow‐growing microorganisms, for tracking of hazard‐related genetic determinants and the dynamic evaluation of the composition and functionality of complex microbial communities.

A SWOT analysis is provided on the use of WGS and metagenomics for Salmonella and Shigatoxin‐producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotyping and the identification of antimicrobial resistance determinants in bacteria. Close agreement between phenotypic and WGS‐based genotyping data has been observed. WGS provides additional information on the nature and localisation of antimicrobial resistance determinants and on their dissemination potential by horizontal gene transfer, as well as on genes relating to virulence and biological fitness. Interoperable data will play a major role in the future use of WGS and metagenomic data.

Capacity building based on harmonised, quality controlled operational systems within European laboratories and worldwide is essential for the investigation of cross‐border outbreaks and for the development of international standardised risk assessments of food‐borne microorganisms.

For more information see the EFSA report.

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Whole genome sequencing and metagenomics for outbreak investigation, source attribution and risk assessment of food‐borne microorganisms

Many of the fresh produce sector's packaging products fall into grey areas, especially concerning The Single Use Plastics Directive (Directive EU 2019/904) which defines 'food containers' listed for consumption reduction measures.

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Food containers and single use plastic

The European Commission requested a pest categorisation of the non‐EU viruses and viroids of potato (hereafter referred to as viruses). As a first step, a systematic literature and database search was carried out to identify the viruses reported to naturally infect Solanum tuberosum and other tuber‐forming Solanum spp.

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Non‐EU viruses and viroids infecting potato (Solanum tuberosum) and other tuber‐forming Solanum species

The European Commission published the following Regulation regarding biocidal products:

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Biocidal products

The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organisation with a Draft Regulation with regard to the reduction of the maximum residue levels for chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl.

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WTO notification - chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl

Latest updates from the European Commission on active substances - EU approvals/non-approvals/renewals/non-renewals.

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Active substances - EU approvals/non-approvals/renewals/non-renewals

PSI-Advantage is running a series of one day courses through 2020 on managing pesticides in fresh produce.

The courses will run on: 5 March, 4 June, 3 September, 29 October 2020.

Managing Pesticide Residues in Fresh Produce training is aimed at Technical Managers who have daily contact with retailers in the UK. The course will be highly participative and will use practical examples to enable learning to be easily applied to real business situations.

 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Know the different types of pesticides, how they work and methods of application

  • Understand EU pesticide legislation, how its implementation affects us now and what is expected in the future

  • Ability to take representative samples for residue testing and interpret results

  • Evaluate laboratories to select the most appropriate and understand how the analysis is conducted

  • Analyse data to develop a residue testing plan and risk-assess suppliers

 

NEW- now with tour of a pesticide residue laboratory included as part of the day

 

For more information and to register see PSI’s website or contact  ian@psi-advantage.com

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Managing Pesticides in Fresh Produce

The European Commission has published plant health interceptions on third country imports in its latest EUROPHYT reports for November 2019 and December 2019 .

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EU plant health interceptions

After more than eight years at the helm of the GLAA Board, Chair Margaret Beels has been honoured with an OBE.

Margaret has been celebrated in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List for her services to tackling and preventing modern slavery and labour exploitation.

She said: “I am honoured and delighted; in addition to my own contribution, this recognises the importance of GLAA’s work in protecting vulnerable and exploited workers.

Read the full story here

 

GLAA Chair honoured with OBE for tackling modern slavery

Standard Import Values will be published on Monday 23 December to apply as of Tuesday 24 December and will remain valid until 3 January 2020.

On Friday 3 January 2020 new values will be calculated and published, coming into force on Saturday 4 January 2020.

FPC will publish the SIVs for members to access as soon as they are available.

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Standard Import Values over Christmas period

Efficient border processes and procedures are critical to getting fresh fruit, vegetables and cut flowers to the marketplace. Reducing waste and damage of perishable goods during cross-border trade is a crucial aspect of daily business operations, but often UK importers face cumbersome processes and procedures that are outside direct control.

In order to have concrete outcomes, your support is needed in sharing your experiences through the survey. This first phase of the survey targets the flower as well as the fruit and vegetable sector exclusively.

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Identifying key constraints to trade in perishable goods

WRAP has led the development of  updated guidance on applying date labels and packaging choices for fresh fruit and vegetables.  This follows a review led by WRAP with input from FPC and some of its members.

Having a range of pack-sizes and formats including loose can help to reduce food waste. Offering fresh produce loose gives customers the opportunity to purchase the correct amount for their needs.  Where fresh produce is packaged, the absence of a Best Before date – on some items – can also help to reduce waste by encouraging people to use their judgement more.

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Updated guidance on applying date labels and packaging choices for fresh produce

The European Parliament blocked European Commission’s draft proposal with regard to the assessment of the impact of plant protection products on honeybees.

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European Parliament blocks proposal on assessment of impact of plant protection products on honeybees

Organic limes imported from Brazil should be treated to prevent the risk of citrus canker being introduced in the EU, in accordance with the European Commission´s Directive 2000/29 (point 16.2 of Annex IV).

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Imports of organic limes and treatment to prevent citrus canker

FPC provides an update and reports on the European Commission's response to a number of questions raised by an anonymous stakeholder.

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Chlorate MRLs - update

The UK Government is consulting on its proposals to introduce a bespoke UK Freeport model which would include multiple customs zones located within or away from a port, to maximise flexibility for port operators and businesses. 

The model would include a kind of Special Economic Zone designated over or around the customs zones, to encourage the maximum number of businesses to open, expand and invest in Freeports.

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Freeports - boosting trade, jobs and investment

The UK Government is consulting on a new UK Global Tariff which will apply to goods imported to the UK on 1 January 2021.  These new tariffs will apply to imports unless there is a preferential arrangement or tariff suspension in place.

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Developing a UK Global Tariff Policy – your views wanted

FPC provides members with a regular summary spreadsheet of all notifications made by EU Member States, including information, border rejections and, on occasion, alerts.

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)  provides food and feed control authorities with the means  to exchange information about measures taken in response to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.

This exchange of information helps EU Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed. More in-depth analysis of RASFF performance is available in annual reports.

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EU RASFF notifications

We have received confirmation from Defra with regard to the requirement for a Certificate of Inspection to be issued  in advance of imports of organic products leaving the country of origin.

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Certificate of Inspection for EU organic imports – Defra confirms requirements

The provisional molecular approach, proposed by EFSA in 2013, for the pathogenicity assessment of Shiga toxin‐producing Escherichia coli (STEC) has been reviewed.

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Pathogenicity assessment of Shiga toxin‐producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and the public health risk posed by contamination of food with STEC

FPC is still seeking clarification from Defra regarding the UK’s position. We are interested to receive urgent feedback on the feasibility of these proposed measures.

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Certificate of Inspection on Organic (COI) before departure - DG AGRI grants grace period of 10 days

The draft Regulation will establish the first list of unacceptable co-formulants, based mainly on proposals from EU Member States which have identified the substances concerned as unacceptable co-formulants in plant protection products or adjuvants.

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Co-formulants not accepted for inclusion in EU plant protection products

The Food Standards Agency has shared recent results from its Early Warning System (EWS) for food and feed. This system is based primarily (but not exclusively) on analysis of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) information issued by EU Member States for imports of food and feed.

 

The frequency of notifications for particular hazards and commodities from specific third countries also allows us to see how they might influence the Commission’s consideration for changes to Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 (as amended) and other sampling legislation. The FSA is now also including information about food and feed from the EU.

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Early warning advice on hazards and commodities from the Food Standards Agency

The European Commission postpones expiry date of approval of propiconazole for use in biocidal products of product-type 8 (wood preservatives).

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Biocidal products - propiconazole

As the tariff dismantling exercise on bananas at the level of 75 €/T for the Central American and Andean countries has reached its final level, export certificates are no longer necessary for entry into the European Union.

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Banana tariff preference mechanism for Central American and Andean Countries

The European Commission published a Implementing Regulation concerning the non-renewal of the approval of the active substance thiacloprid, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.

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Active substance thiacloprid - non-renewal of approval

It is with sadness that we have learnt of the death of Doug Henderson, former Chief Executive Officer of the Fresh Produce Consortium.

Doug Henderson joined FPC in 1994 and headed the UK’s trade association until his retirement in 2004. Over his tenure Doug worked to promote the industry and to increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

In 2002 Doug was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to UK fresh produce.

 

He was also awarded an honorary fellowship of the University of Wales, Bangor, for his role in the government’s Schools Fruit and Veg Scheme, providing free fruit and vegetables to young children.

There will be a memorial service at St Martin's Church, High St, Stamford PE9 2LF at 12 noon on Thursday 23 January.

Former CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium passes

Pest categorisation of the non‐EU phytoplasmas of Cydonia Mill., Fragaria L., Malus Mill., Prunus L., Pyrus L., Ribes L., Rubus L. and Vitis L.

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of nine phytoplasmas of Cydonia Mill., Fragaria L., Malus Mill., Prunus L., Pyrus L., Ribes L., Rubus L. and Vitis L. (hereafter “host plants”) known to occur only outside the EU or having a limited presence in the EU.

 

This opinion covers the (i) reference strains of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense’, ‘Ca. P. fraxini’, ‘Ca. P. hispanicum’, ‘Ca. P. trifolii’, ‘Ca. P. ziziphi’, (ii) related strains infecting the host plants of ‘Ca. P. aurantifolia’, ‘Ca. P. pruni’, and ‘Ca. P. pyri’, and (iii) an unclassified phytoplasma causing Buckland valley grapevine yellows.

Phytoplasmas can be detected by available methods and are efficiently transmitted by vegetative propagation, with plants for planting acting as a major entry pathway and a long‐distance spread mechanism.

 

Phytoplasmas are also transmitted in a persistent and propagative manner by some insect families of the Fulgoromorpha, Cicadomorpha and Sternorrhyncha (order Hemiptera). No transovarial, pollen or seed transmission has been reported. The natural host range of the categorised phytoplasmas varies from one to more than 90 plant species, thus increasing the possible entry pathways. The host plants are widely cultivated in the EU.

All the categorised phytoplasmas can enter and spread through the trade of host plants for planting, and by vectors. Establishment of these phytoplasmas is not expected to be limited by EU environmental conditions. The introduction of these phytoplasmas in the EU would have an economic impact. There are measures to reduce the risk of entry, establishment, spread and impact.

 

Uncertainties result from limited information on distribution, biology and epidemiology. All the phytoplasmas categorised here meet the criteria evaluated by EFSA to qualify as potential Union quarantine pests, and they do not qualify as potential regulated non‐quarantine pests, because they are non‐EU phytoplasmas.

For more information see the EFSA report.

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Pest categorisations by EFSA

FPC provides members with a regular summary spreadsheet of all notifications made by EU Member States, including information, border rejections and, on occasion, alerts.

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)  provides food and feed control authorities with the means  to exchange information about measures taken in response to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.

This exchange of information helps EU Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed. More in-depth analysis of RASFF performance is available in annual reports.

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EU RASFF notifications

The connection between food waste and global warming isn’t often talked about, but the impact of food waste on the environment is devastating, and the most wasted food category in UK homes is fresh produce.

Read the full story here.

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Putting Global Food Waste on the Map

The European Commission is consulting on the EU 2030 biodiversity strategy ‘Safeguarding nature – EU 2030 biodiversity strategy’.

The strategy will outline the EU’s ambition for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted in October 2020 at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China. In order to demonstrate the EU´s readiness to lead by example, it will put forward EU commitments and measures to address the main causes of biodiversity loss in the EU.

 

These could include quantified objectives and measures to:

  • Protect nature and increase the coverage and effectiveness of protected areas, building on the Natura 2000 network;

  • Restore damaged ecosystems, including carbon-rich ecosystems, to good ecological status and enhance the flow of essential services that they provide;

  • Promote the sustainable use of forest, agriculture, marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems;

  • Fully integrate biodiversity considerations into other EU policies and address EU impacts on global biodiversity;

  • Enable the implementation of the strategy by securing adequate financial resources, improving knowledge and engaging citizens and stakeholders across sectors.

 

Following the adoption of the global framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the Commission will put forward concrete actions by 2021.

The consultation is available here and is open until 20 January 2020.

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Safeguarding nature – EU 2030 biodiversity strategy

Due to an essential upgrade PEACH will be unavailable for up to three hours between 1200-1500 hrs on 16 January.

Due to the timing and duration of the work manual fallback will not be invoked, although as ever importers and their agents are advised to submit applications either side of the downtime.

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Scheduled downtime affecting import clearances

Update of the risk assessment of di‐butylphthalate (DBP), butyl‐benzyl‐phthalate (BBP), bis(2‐ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), di‐isononylphthalate (DINP) and di‐isodecylphthalate (DIDP) for use in food contact materials.

The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP Panel) was asked by the European Commission to update its 2005 risk assessments of di‐butylphthalate (DBP), butyl‐benzyl‐phthalate (BBP), bis(2‐ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), di‐isononylphthalate (DINP) and di‐isodecylphthalate (DIDP), which are authorised for use in plastic food contact material (FCM).

Dietary exposure estimates (mean and high (P95)) were obtained by combining literature occurrence data with consumption data from the EFSA Comprehensive Database. The highest exposure was found for DINP, ranging from 0.2 to 4.3 and from 0.4 to 7.0 μg/kg body weight (bw) per day for mean and high consumers, respectively.

There was not enough information to draw conclusions on how much migration from plastic FCM contributes to dietary exposure to phthalates. The review of the toxicological data focused mainly on reproductive effects. The CEP Panel derived the same critical effects and individual tolerable daily intakes (TDIs) (mg/kg bw per day) as in 2005 for all the phthalates, i.e. reproductive effects for DBP (0.01), BBP (0.5), DEHP (0.05), and liver effects for DINP and DIDP (0.15 each). Based on a plausible common mechanism (i.e. reduction in fetal testosterone) underlying the reproductive effects of DEHP, DBP and BBP, the Panel considered it appropriate to establish a group‐TDI for these phthalates, taking DEHP as index compound as a basis for introducing relative potency factors.

The Panel noted that DINP also affected fetal testosterone levels at doses around threefold higher than liver effects and therefore considered it conservative to include it within the group‐TDI which was established to be 50 μg/kg bw per day, expressed as DEHP equivalents. The aggregated dietary exposure for DBP, BBP, DEHP and DINP was estimated to be 0.9–7.2 and 1.6–11.7 μg/kg bw per day for mean and high consumers, respectively, thus contributing up to 23% of the group‐TDI in the worst‐case scenario.

For DIDP, not included in the group‐TDI, dietary exposure was estimated to be always below 0.1 μg/kg bw per day and therefore far below the TDI of 150 μg/kg bw per day. This assessment covers European consumers of any age, including the most sensitive groups.

Based on the limited scope of the mandate and the uncertainties identified, the Panel considered that the current assessment of the five phthalates, individually and collectively, should be on a temporary basis.

 

For more information see the EFSA report.

 

Food contact materials - reports on update of risk assessments

Nearly one in three foodborne outbreaks in the EU in 2018 were caused by Salmonella, according to the latest annual report on trends and sources of zoonoses published by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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EU One Health 2018 Zoonoses Report

A working group of the EU Standing Committee on Plants Animals Food and Feed has discussed the possible amendment of existing maximum levels of cadmium and the setting of new maximum levels for certain commodities.

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Cadmium levels in fresh produce

The European Commission has published several of the awaiting delegated regulations which form part of the Official Controls Regulations.

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Official Controls Regulation – update

Following the European Food Safety Authority's opinion on lead in Food and taking into account the most recent occurrence data, an EU working group of the Standing Committee on Plants Animals Food and Feed has discussed possible amendments of existing maximum levels of lead and the setting of new maximum levels for certain commodities.

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Lead levels in fresh produce

Following the outbreak of Citrus Black Spot in Tunisia reported last year, Tunisia notified the European Commission that it will no longer issue plant health certificate for citrus as ‘country free’.

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Citrus black spot -Phyllosticta citricarpa -Tunisia

The European Commission is consulting on the mandatory use of traceability codes, and in particular the types and species of plants for planting not exempted from the traceability code requirement for plant passports under Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Commission Directive 92/105/EEC.

The proposed regulation proposes that types and species of plants for planting not exempted from the traceability code requirement for plant passports are:

  1. All plants for planting that produce a persistent wood stem, including trees, shrubs, vines and climbing plants

  1. Plants for planting of stolon- or tuber-forming species of Solanum L. or their hybrids, other than those intended exclusively for ornamental purposes.

 

For more information see the EU consultation on the draft regulation.

If any member would like to provide any feedback to FPC we would be pleased to respond on your behalf.  Please provide any comments by close of play 9 January 2020 latest.

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Plant passports – plant pests traceability codes

FPC provides members with a regular summary spreadsheet of all notifications made by EU Member States, including information, border rejections and, on occasion, alerts.

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)  provides food and feed control authorities with the means  to exchange information about measures taken in response to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed.

This exchange of information helps EU Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed. More in-depth analysis of RASFF performance is available in annual reports.

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EU RASFF notifications

The European Commission has published changes to the frequency of plant health import checks for certain products.  These changes will come into effect on 1 February 2020.

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Reduced plant health checks for certain products

Recent media coverage on initiatives to reduce plastic packaging has focused on PLU stickers used on loose fresh produce.....

The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) and its members support work to reduce the impact of plastic packaging in the environment whilst maintaining food safety and providing essential information for consumers.

Fully certified compostable, recyclable labels are used by many UK suppliers in the fresh produce sector.

The UK fresh produce industry uses labels bearing Price Look Up Codes (PLUs) where it is necessary to distinguish different varieties of loose products in retail stores. This allows the cashier to identify quickly the variety of the product and ensure that the consumer is paying the correct price. PLU stickers also avoid having to use other types of packaging or labelling.

WRAP advises that where there is a need to use PLU stickers then UK Plastics Pact members should consider using substitute materials, e.g. compostable.

For more information from the International Federation for Produce Standards on PLUs visit: http://www.plucodes.com/

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Price Look Up Codes and sticky labels

The Food Standards Agency has provided an update of the recent results from its Early Warning System (EWS) for food and feed. This system is based primarily (but not exclusively) on analysis of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) information issued by EU Member States for imports of food and feed.

 

The frequency of notifications for particular hazards and commodities from specific third countries also allows the FSA to see how they might influence the Commission’s consideration for changes to Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 669/2009 (as amended) and other sampling legislation. The update also includes information about food and feed from the EU.

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Early warning system for ‘high risk’ products

FPC members have the opportunity to access advice and information from qualified experts on food safety and hygiene regulation to support their business in England. 

 

A Primary Authority Partnership established between the Fresh Produce Consortium and South Holland District Council offers this service to FPC members.

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Consistent advice on food safety and hygiene regulation for FPC members

The European Food Safety Authority has publishd a revised version of its review of the existing MRLs for glyphosate.

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Review of the existing maximum residue levels for glyphosate

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1119/2014 sets temporary maximum residue levels for benzalkonium chloride (BAC) and didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) in fruit and vegetables (0.1 mg/kg). Temporary MRLs had been set for benzalkonium chloride (BAC) and didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) on the basis of the monitoring data available at that time.

 

The Regulation also says that the temporary MRLs shall be reviewed by 31 December 2019. Reassessment of data may lead to modification of MRLs.

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Consultation on review of temporary MRLs for BAC/DDAC

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