New draft guidelines, written by the Food Standards Agency, Defra Labelling and the sustainability charity Wrap, say that shops should remove use by dates from products unless there is a risk of food poisoning, instead just stating a best before. Read full article from here
Below is a link to a recent case. An Environmental Health officer sampled a “lamb Tikka” from a restaurant and found that it did not contain any lamb. The owner blamed the supplier of the meat but was unable to produce invoices for the sampled product. This resulted in a prosecution and fine. Read full article from here:
A food fraud investigation has found lamb from takeaways tainted with beef and chicken DNA. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which exposed the horse meat scandal last year, revealed that seven out of 20 meals sampled from fast food joints in Dublin were contaminated. Read full article from here:
A teenager with a nut allergy died after eating a Chinese takeaway meal containing peanuts, an inquest has heard.
The restaurant's menu had a general warning that its food may contain nuts but no specific warning for the ribs, the court heard. However, the inquest was told it was not required to provide one by law and was complying with regulations.
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From December 2014 this will no longer be the case. Is your food business aware of the changes and requirements? Contact us for further assistance.
The Food Standards Agency would like to remind food businesses of the legal requirements on dusts and glitters for food decoration. The guidance applies to food that is prepared at home as well as to commercially made products. Read guidance from here:
Fears ground peanuts are being used to thicken sauces rather than almond powder.
Move can prove fatal to those suffering from a peanut allergy
Criminal investigation launched after death of 38-year-old man from suffering reaction
FSA urges local councils to ask restaurant owners to check ingredients
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Half of the meat samples tested by a local authority food safety team last year contained species of animals not identified on their labels.
Beefburgers and sausages sampled by Leicester Trading Standards contained undeclared chicken, while samples of lamb curry were found to contain cheaper beef or a mix of beef and lamb or turkey. Read full article from here:
Following detection by the FSA of unusually high levels of toxins, various shellfish harvesting sites in Scotland have been closed. These toxins, which occur naturally, especially during the summer months, can cause acute food poisoning.
In addition, the FSA has been informed that approximately 70 people in south east England have reported symptoms consistent with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (see 'Science behind the story' below). The vast majority of cases occurred between 13 and 15 July.
The cases have been linked to the consumption of mussels originating from a particular harvesting area in Shetland, Scotland. After these mussels were harvested, an unusually high toxin level was detected by the FSA’s weekly monitoring programme. The area has been closed, and as a precautionary measure
the industry has voluntarily suspended all commercial harvesting from the waters around Shetland until toxin levels subside.
The business that supplied the shellfish, Shetland Mussels, has contacted its customers and advised the FSA that all of the mussels from this batch have either been consumed or disposed of. The local authority is investigating and liaising closely with the FSA.
The mussels had been supplied to a number of restaurants, some through a number of intermediary suppliers. Customers reported illness after eating at: Belgo in Covent Garden, Holborn, Clapham and Bromley; Zero Degrees in Blackheath and Reading; The Phoenix near Hook, Hampshire; Boulevard Brasserie in Covent Garden; and Pig’s Ears in Richmond. These premises acted appropriately by
notifying the relevant authorities when the cases of illness were identified.
It is the legal responsibility of all food businesses to put in place appropriate controls to ensure that only food safe for consumption is placed on the market. The FSA is reminding all UK companies involved in the sale of shellfish to ensure that biotoxin risks are taken into account in their food safety management systems.
Food labelling should be simple but it is not. Virtually every product on the supermarket shelf has its own unique set of colour codes or logos claiming to be healthy or free from one harmful thing or another. It can be a minefield working out which product is healthier to buy and labelling for animal welfare
is no different. In fact, some labels you will find on meat products are positively misleading!
What to beware of
The Red Tractor scheme, run by Assured Food Standards offers few welfare benefits compared with standard industry practice and generally only ensure compliance with minimum legislative requirements (the interpretation of which is considered inadequate in some cases).
The Lion Mark is important for food safety, ensuring your eggs are safe to eat, but generally only ensures compliance with minimum legislative requirements.
Both these schemes offer free-range production certification standards, so their logos may appear on free-range meat and eggs.
What do these labels mean?
These food labels mostly ensure compliance with minimum legislative requirements for both standard and free-range production (in terms of animal welfare provision)
Beware clever marketing
Beware terms like "Farm Fresh." They are nothing more than a marketing ploy
and mean nothing in terms of animal welfare.
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The FSA has today published the findings of its research into domestic kitchen practices. The findings of the study, called Kitchen Life, offers for the first time detailed insights into what people actually do and why in UK kitchens, and will help to develop our thinking about how to reduce the burden of foodborne disease.
Food safety in the home is a key focus of the Foodborne Disease Strategy for 2010–2015, which aims to reduce incidents of foodborne disease. In 2008 the Agency’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) and the Social Science Research Committee (SSRC) made a number of recommendations; one SSRC recommendation included carrying out a study to examine food-safety
behaviours in the home, focusing on ‘actual’ rather than reported behaviours.
Kitchen Life is part of a package of research that has since been commissioned by the FSA. The study used a range of qualitative methods, which included a participant-led kitchen tour, observation, video observation and informal interviews, to investigate practices in the kitchens of 20 UK households.
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