This newsletter’s ‘in the news’ is based on the 12 Days of Christmas! Enjoy!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

A partridge in a pear tree….

Production of British pears has proven to be higher than first predicted, however further afield, EU pears have been affected by draught resulting in smaller fruit, which could mean that more will be juiced. Make sure you check your source if claiming origination on pack. (Source: Food Forensics – Nov 17)

2 Turtle doves…

Tenuous link alert… not doves or even turtles… but how about examples of grains the turtle doves eat? EU durum wheat crops are up to 8.9m tonnes and global levels are higher too. Keep an eye on wheat storage as Mycotoxins could increase. (Source: Food Forensics – Nov 17)

Campylobacter levels have decreased with only 6.5% of chickens testing positive for the bacteria

Campylobacter levels have decreased with only 6.5% of chickens testing positive for the bacteria

3 French hens…

The FSA’s survey for campylobacter has shown that levels have fallen in fresh shop bought UK chickens. When the survey started in 2014/15, the levels were almost 20%; the results now show a reduction to 6.5% of chickens testing positive. (Source)

4 Calling birds…

With the news that there have been seventeen outbreaks of Avian Flu in Italian farms involving turkeys, and as wild bird migration is underway in the UK, the risk of occurrence in the UK has been raised to MEDIUM, poultry has been held at LOW, but needs close observation. (Source)

5 Gold rings…

Not food fraud, but gold is one of the largest commodities for fraud in the world. The reasons for it are not so dissimilar to high prevelance food fraud cases such as saffron or coconut water – it is a premium product, supply pressures, high value, in-demand… you can see the pattern. During the festive season there will be plenty of ingredients which would fall into this category, keep on horizon scanning!

Backlog in testing has caused supply issues and imported liquid egg may have to be used to meet seasonal demand

Backlog in testing has caused supply issues and imported liquid egg may have to be used to meet seasonal demand

6 Geese are laying…

Well, maybe not geese eggs, but hen’s eggs have been in the press a lot recently and the consequences of the fiprionil scandal seems to still be sending shockwaves through the food chain. A backlog in testing for fipronil has reduced supply, UK supply seconds are low and due to seasonal demand, imported liquid egg maybe needed to fulfil this gap. The extension of the EU derogation allowing eggs from hens kept indoors due to AI outbreaks to be labelled free range has alleviated some pressure. (Source: Food Forensics – Nov 17)

 

 7 Swans a swimming…

Yes, enough of the wild birds for now, but let’s look at water. Another one to keep an eye on, counterfeit water. In May 2017, more than 266,000 litres of counterfeit water was seized in Italy with labels and bottle shapes similar to the real products. On investigation the products were bottled at the same source, but it was done without authorisation and regulation, resulting in one person being arrested. (Source)

8 Maids a milking…

Another seasonal one to watch, milk fats are in short supply and butter prices have increased by an average of 11% and cream prices are up 94% m-o-m, mainly due to a reduction in supply coupled with increased demand. This could affect Christmas production. Make sure your check your supply chains as these circumstances are very attractive for fraudsters. (Source: Food Forensics – Nov 17)

Make sure you check the rating of your party venues - 5% still have 3 stars or less!

Make sure you check the rating of your party venues – 5% still have 3 stars or less!

9 Ladies dancing…

It’s party season! The FSA are suggesting ‘look before you book’ at the food hygiene rating of your chosen venue to ensure your Christmas gathering only causes self-induced symptoms, not a case of food poisoning. One positive from this article is that 95% of all food businesses have a rating of 3 or more, watch out for the remaining 5%! Have a great Christmas party! (Source)

10 Lords a leaping…

Another one on counterfeit alcohol products, only this July did we have another case of fake vodka, with almost 2,000 litres seized in Aintree, which is worth approximately £45,000 in unpaid tax. (Source)

11 Pipers piping…

Not music, but with the festive season fast approaching, many festive desserts may well be making claims such as ‘hand-decorated’. If you make this claim on pack, have a robust risk assessment and rationale ready to explain how this claim is protected from errors. Our Assessing Error Vulnerability for Food Integrity book can help you complete this. (More info)

12 Drummers drumming…

Sorry, another tenuous link, drum sticks…sweets…! A new virus called ‘swollen shoot’ has been identified in West Africa which affects cocoa. This type of virus can cause severe crop losses so make sure you add it to your horizon scanning activities. (Source)

Cocoa Swollen Shoot

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