EU assesses construct and shellfish controls in Turkey

Two audits by the European Commission’s health and safety agency earn checked out checks on food of non-animal starting place (FNAO) and bivalve mollusks in Turkey.

A DG Sante audit on FNAO, in September 2022, made three suggestions. The focal point changed into microbiological contamination of subtle berries like strawberries, leafy crops akin to lettuce, and dry tomatoes for export to the European Union.

Meals safety at important production is addressed by, and depends on, factual agricultural practices inspection and non-public certification systems. Then again, this does no longer quilt little growers supplying export channels originate air the foremost grocery store chains, and authorities stay no longer verify measures to stop microbiological contamination.

Turkish officers acknowledged to stop contamination of tomato, strawberry, and lettuce merchandise earlier than and in the midst of harvest, several provinces will seemingly be told to stay legitimate controls. Other steps consist of inspection applications, coaching, audits, and sampling.

All the strategy by processing, legitimate controls are in space. Then again, auditors learned shortcomings as some capability risks are no longer lined. Authorities earn no longer regarded as the strategy of drying tomatoes in originate fields on high of things plans, or the danger of Listeria contamination in operators handling merchandise meant to be eaten raw. These compromise the authority’s ability to detect and rectify deficiencies or practices that will pose a possibility to customers, acknowledged auditors.

Vegetables and fruit are no longer fragment of the annual national monitoring program and legitimate sampling for microbiological analysis is handiest utilized upon particular demand or if there are complaints. The thought also does no longer consist of environmental samples for Listeria in such institutions. This limits the capability of legitimate monitoring to construct precious info to food companies and authorities to address likely contamination in the production and processing phases, acknowledged auditors.

Following Hasty Alert System for Meals and Feed (RASFF) notifications, authorities utilized a monitoring thought for Hepatitis A in dried tomatoes exported to the EU but no extra positives earn since been detected.

Concerns with mollusk controls

The 2d audit on bivalve mollusks had a far off fragment in October 2021 and an onsite factor in Might per chance per chance well also 2022. It learned growth had been made since the remaining consult with in 2015.

Turkey can no longer export stay bivalve mollusks to the EU but can send frozen and processed ones. All consignments desires to be examined at EU border defend watch over factors for E. coli if frozen and biotoxins for frozen and processed bivalve mollusks.

The audit published weaknesses in biotoxin testing, which is in a neighborhood to guide to an underestimation of the need of biotoxins in mollusks. An audit document learned the investigation of unsatisfactory microbiological findings is inadequate, which could perchance per chance per chance lead to the misclassification of production areas and inadequate treatment of harvested bivalve mollusks. Incomplete sanitary surveys stay no longer make certain sampling factors for microbiological monitoring are representative of production areas.

Administration of re-opening production areas regarding fecal contamination criteria is inadequate and could perchance per chance per chance furthermore lead to unsafe merchandise reaching the market, acknowledged auditors.

Following the extension of a ban on exporting stay bivalve mollusks to the EU, Turkish operators tried to adapt to send frozen or thermally processed merchandise as a change. This resulted in the employ of sites no longer ready for handling and processing such merchandise that had essential structural shortcomings.

The audit crew also renowned operational complications akin to abominable problem-up and implementation of food safety prerequisites, absence of frigid chain management in the midst of processing, and a high possibility of heinous-contamination of the final product. Some operators hadn’t utilized or validated thermal processes to abolish microorganisms. Whereas companies had food safety management systems, they didn’t quilt all hazards and risks.

Auditors acknowledged there are important shortcomings in factories which raises food safety issues about merchandise exported from them.

“The truth that the systematic legitimate inspections of processing institutions did no longer detect any of the a lot of complications detected in the midst of this audit calls into question the flexibility of the authorities to put in power EU requirements. The absence of any procedures to substantiate the effectiveness of legitimate controls raises additional issues over the flexibility of the authorities to acknowledge the weaknesses of their actions and their capability to support them.”

Within the previous few years, there earn been three notifications in the RASFF machine for bivalve merchandise from Turkey, one linked to high ranges of E. coli in frozen bivalve mollusks; one other for lipophilic toxins and one in consequence of Salmonella in a frozen pasteurized product. In all cases, the investigation by native authorities did no longer detect any deficiency in linked institutions. Then again, the audit crew renowned several factors in a single in every of the web sites linked to the Salmonella RASFF case.

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