APAC’s 10 Best Food Safety Stories from the Agribusiness Industry in 2021

Covid-19 and Food Transmission: Meat, Dairy, Nuts, Fruits and Vegetables Potential Carriers, But Cannot Spread the Virus – Review

More studies are emerging on food products as a potential vector of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing COVID-19, according to a new research review, but there is no evidence that it leads to transmissions.

So far, global health authorities have not reported any evidence of foods or food packaging capable of transmitting COVID-19, although China has found the virus in mostly imported frozen foods from around 20 countries. country.

Researchers at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences of Iran said that although SARS-CoV-2 can be present in food and even food packaging, it does not necessarily mean that it is viable and capable of causing disease. infection.

In particular, laboratory studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 remains very stable under refrigeration (4 ° C) and freezing (−10 to −80 ° C) conditions on fish, meat, poultry and pork skin, between 14 and 21 days.

Halal rules in Malaysia: new QR code launched to recognize foreign certification bodies in the wake of the meat scandal

Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) is improving recognition of foreign halal certification bodies by adding QR codes on packaging and new training, measures that follow a high-profile meat scandal.

The fake halal meat scandal surfaced in December 2020, where meat importers reportedly bribed customs officials for 40 years to import and sell frozen meat from certified non-Halal sources. The meat, including beef, kangaroo, and horse meat, was imported from countries like China, Ukraine, Brazil, and Argentina, and was blended and repackaged in Malaysia and sold to consumers.

This had raised fury and concern as these meats were generally not slaughtered to Islamic standards, nor sourced from approved stakeholders.

The government said in response to the meat scandal that it would develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent duplication of halal certificates through the use of digitization in halal food products.

New rules cut mustard: Indian industry hails government ban on blended oils to prevent fraud and increase value

The edible oil industry in India has welcomed the Food Safety and Standards Authority India’s (FSSAI) application of a ban on blended mustard oils, saying it is crucial to prevent adulteration and promote premiumisation in the category.

The FSSAI published in the Official Journal the ban on all mixed vegetable oils containing mustard oil earlier this year, but did not issue a formal order until later to food safety authorities in all states. and Union Territories in India.

“Any multisource edible vegetable oil containing mustard oil manufactured on or after June 8, 2021. [is prohibited and all] multi-source edible vegetable oils should not be sold in bulk [but] in a sealed package weighing not more than 15 kg ‘,said FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal.

Progress in “nuclear food”: only 15 countries remain in the world still restricting Japanese food in districts affected by the Fukushima disaster

Only 15 countries in the world still have import restrictions on food from Japanese districts that were hit by the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown disaster in 2011 – but progress with those that remain may be difficult to achieve in the short term.

Several countries in the Middle East have phased out all previously imposed import restrictions on food from Japanese prefectures near the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, believed to be associated with “nuclear food.” »Radioactive. The prefectures particularly affected by the disaster are those located in the immediate vicinity of the plant, in particular Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba.

Egypt abolished all import restrictions in November 2020, followed by Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates in December, and more recently Israel.

“The government of Japan welcomes this decision by the government of Israel [to] remove all regulatory measures to require inspections or radioactive material inspection reports for all food products from [Japan], “Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.

Edible oil fraud: China warns against adulterated, mixed sesame oils

The Chinese government has released new consumer guidelines focused on sesame oil, in which consumers have been warned to beware of adulterated or mixed products for fear of food safety concerns.

The guidelines were released by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), calling on consumers to pay more attention to food labels when shopping for sesame oil.

“Sesame oil is one of the most traditional edible oils used in China, which is very popular with consumers due to its strong fragrance. These guidelines have been published to ensure that consumers can buy it in China. fully safe on the basis of scientific principles “,SAMR said.

Fish fraud results: nearly 20% of fish in Taiwan are mislabeled – study

About 20% of Taiwanese fishery products are mislabeled, with snapper, cod and surimi products being the most vulnerable to fraudulent substitutions.

Analyzing 127 fish samples taken from supermarkets, markets and restaurants in Taiwan, the researchers found that 24 samples were mislabeled, ranging from 12.5% ​​to 26.8% depending on the fish. Taiwan’s gross seafood mislabelling rate is 18.9%.

Correct product labels are essential to ensure fair trade and prevent consumers from receiving pathogenic, allergenic or toxic seafood.

However, labels are often subject to fraud, for example by substitution where the fish is sold under the name of a different and often more expensive fish.

China Food Safety Alerts: Government-issued Warnings and Guidelines for Fermented Foods, Counterfeit Foods and Beverages

The Chinese government has issued a series of warnings and guidelines on consuming counterfeit fermented foods, foods and drinks amid mass food poisoning and rapidly increasing cases of food fraud in China. over the past year.

All warnings and guidelines have been issued by the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), with particular emphasis on the safety of fermented foods due to a case of mass fatal food poisoning in the region. Heilongjiang Province last year when nine members of one family died after eating homemade suantangzi (fermented corn noodles).

The cause of the massive food poisoning was determined to be the high concentrations of the respiratory toxin bongkrekic acid in the noodles, produced by the bacteria. Pseudomonas cocovenenans.

“Recently, there have been cases of food poisoning in several local areas involving the consumption of suantangzi (noodles made from fermented corn flour), shimifen (rice noodles) and Jewish ear fungus, which even resulted in deaths “,said the SAMR.

Sticky situation: Criticism voiced on India’s national survey on widespread honey adulteration

The Food Safety and Standards Authority India (FSSAI) has launched a nationwide investigation into a widespread local honey adulteration scandal and is considering ‘better’ testing methods – but researchers call on the agency to take action “Stronger public actions” before the situation worsens.

The honey adulteration scandal was recently sparked when the Indian research organization Center for Science and Environment (CSE) released a report revealing how 77% of local honey samples tested were found to be adulterated with sugar syrup – with many of these samples coming from big, established brands of honey such as Dabur and Patanjali.

“A total of 13 brands of honey were tested, [eight being] major brands and five niche brands. Overall, 17 of 22 samples (77%) [of local honey] were found to be falsified ”,CSE said in the original report.

Nuclear watch in Japan: tests show concentration of radioactivity decreased in most food products in five years

Japanese food monitoring tests after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 showed that drinking water, milk and infant foods were within the radioactivity concentration limits after five years, but some samples from the categories meat from wild animals and agricultural products always showed high radioactivity.

In 2012, the government set standard limits for radionuclides in food, especially radioactive cesium. Limits have been set at 10 Bq / kg for potable water, 50 Bq / kg for milk and infant foods, and 100 Bq / kg for general foods which include meat from wild animals, fish and agriculture.

Based on these standard limits, local governments in 17 prefectures conducted their own surveillance tests, to ensure that foods above the standard limit were not distributed, recalled and disposed of.

Focus on Dairy Products in China: New National Three-Year Strategy Emphasizes R&D and Regulatory Control to Strengthen Safety and Reputation

The Chinese government has announced a new three-year strategy to further develop the local dairy industry, with a focus on strengthening R&D as well as tighter governance to allay remaining food safety concerns and boost reputation. of the sector.

The strategy, dubbed “Action Plan for Improving Dairy Product Quality and Safety,” was announced by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and is the latest of many. attempts by the country to motivate local consumers to increase consumption of dairy products, including the formulation of consumption guidelines for this past year.

“[Although] the overall level of quality and safety of dairy products has increased in recent years, this strategy was formulated because there are still various issues that plague the dairy industry [that need to be solved] so that it reaches its maximum potential ”,SAMR said.

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